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No Presidential Debate in 2024?

Updated: Mar 15

There is a strong possibility that the last debate of the presidential election already happened. Neither Trump nor Biden, the leaders of the presidential nomination race, ever debated during the current primaries. During the previous presidential election, they battled one another twice. However, the establishment of both parties does not show enthusiasm to organize or participate in any of the three scheduled debates for the upcoming presidential election. 

Presidential debates have been nationwide phenomena ever since the first one aired on television in 1960, opposing John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Since then, during every presidential election campaign, at least one debate between the candidates was presented on national television. 

These debates allow candidates to showcase on a national scale their rhetorical talents and their personalities in politics, as well as their policy priorities once they take office. These presidential debates are an opportunity to learn more about the candidates, but only about 10% of the undecided voters found they were pivotal in making their decisions. 

Neither party has yet publicly stated if they will attend or not the debate set in Texas on Sept. 16. They affirmed it is too early to mention debates, even though all candidates usually prepare for months before getting behind their podium.

Republicans’ concerns about a potential presidential debate:

The Republican National Committee (RNC) voted to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), an organization planning and supporting presidential and vice-presidential debates since 1988. The chairwoman of the RNC, Ronna McDonald, declared the CPD “biased” and that they “refused to enact simple and common sense reforms” for fairer debates in a press release. The latter also mentioned the CPD is held by companies hating Trump and would not accept a reform avoiding the selection of biased moderators. Therefore, they are still trying to find better debate platforms.

Nevertheless, last December Donald Trump said otherwise, stating the CPD is “terrible,” but would do as many debates as the organization wants. It is not the only time the RNC and Trump stated opposite opinions on the matter. In early February, Trump said on a radio show that he and Biden should debate now for the good of the country. Then, about two weeks later, Trump said both presidential candidates have “an obligation,” but does not believe Biden would debate before Nov. 4th. 

Democrats’ concerns about a potential presidential debate:

Biden’s team remained evasive on the matter. They declared the reelection campaign team would look at the schedule released by the CPD, but for the moment, their priority is to structure a solid presidential campaign to be “competitive in 2024.”

Historically, the decision to hold presidential debates comes from the incumbent president. Biden has dismissed every one of Trump's invitations to debate.

The first debate set in September is still far away, so the discourse of both parties may completely change, but we are currently heading to a presidential election with no debate.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


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