NewsBiden vs Trump: All eyes on historic debate ahead of November election

Biden vs Trump: All eyes on historic debate ahead of November election

According to the latest polls, Joe Biden and Donald Trump would each receive 46 percent support.
According to the latest polls, Joe Biden and Donald Trump would each receive 46 percent support.
Images source: © East News | ANGELA WEISS
Sylwester Ruszkiewicz

27 June 2024 19:52

For Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the televised debate holds colossal significance, as both candidates are neck and neck in the polls ahead of the elections scheduled for 5 November. According to experts, the campaign's calm progress thus far is surprising. They believe that the live, confrontation could be crucial.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump will face each other in the CNN studio in Atlanta on Thursday evening (at 2 AM GMT). This comes just days after the average poll results of the "New York Times". Both candidates enjoy support at around 46%. The result is good news for the current President of the USA, who has thus far been trailing the former head of state in the polls.

First time in history

Thursday's debate will open the campaign's final phase leading up to the November presidential elections. Before 5 November, there will be two election conventions and two debates, and Americans will cast their first votes in September. The 78-year-old Trump and the 81-year-old Biden are the oldest presidential candidates from major parties in US history.

The debate is already historic because candidates have never faced each other directly four months before the elections.

According to Ryszard Schnepf, former Polish ambassador to Washington, the two candidates' rivalry is extremely tightly contested.

Calm like Trump

"Recent studies indicate that Biden and Trump each have 46% support. This is quite symbolic. What may be surprising so far is the relatively calm progress of the campaign. There have been no shocks that would overturn the pre-election table," says Ryszard Schnepf to Wirtualna Polska.

In his opinion, this might mean that Donald Trump and his team want to show that they are a civilized political force. A possible victory for the former President of the USA does not signify a disaster.

"It looks like a pre-election calming of opponents and undecided voters. Looking at Trump's appearances, they fall within the rules of the game and do not shock as they did before," assesses Schnepf.

The former Polish ambassador to the USA emphasizes that the debate between Biden and Trump now seems crucial.

"It will not be an in-depth discussion about American problems. It is said that Donald Trump will want to emphasize economic and immigration issues. But it's hard to believe he will avoid more emotional jabs at Biden and his condition. All eyes will be on the current President to determine his present form. Importantly, doubts around the US President are not concerned with his actions and programme but with his continued leadership abilities. I am curious to see how much Biden will try to convince the audience that he still controls the situation and can bear the burden of responsibility in the future," says Ryszard Schnepf.

American Studies scholar, Prof. Zbigniew Lewicki, speaks in a similar tone.

"These are elections full of fear and dangerous for the world"

"We have an evenly matched election campaign, so we eagerly await the debate. Primarily, it is supposed to answer the question: Is President Biden capable of winning the election and leading the USA for the next four years? Despite significant reservations about Trump, the main narrative is about Biden's condition. And whether the President can cope physically and mentally with holding office in the White House. Trump will likely raise this issue because he sees Biden as a candidate unfit for office," Prof. Zbigniew Lewicki tells WP.

In his opinion, programmatic issues in the campaign will probably appear once the candidates formally receive their party nominations, that is, after the election conventions.

"For now, they focus on what can bring them additional votes. On the one hand, Biden emphasizes Trump's instability and unpredictability. On the other hand, the Republican leader points out Biden's evident mental and physical shortcomings. It turns out that whoever wins it will be quite compromising and dangerous for the world. These are elections full of fears. There is no good choice," assesses Prof. Lewicki.

A key date in the campaign could be 11 July. On that day in New York, a hearing will take place where a judge will decide on the sentence for Donald Trump for 34 crimes for which he was convicted in the case related to payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet. Although most experts do not expect a prison sentence, it is not excluded that it may affect the election result.

"Both the verdict and the scandals involving Trump are nothing new in the US. Of course, his opponents are triumphant, and supporters say it's further evidence that the establishment wants to destroy their candidate. Polls show that he has lost some supporters while gaining others. So, at this point, it is insignificant for the election prognosis," says Prof. Zbigniew Lewicki to WP.

Ryszard Schnepf shares this view. "For Trump's voters, who support him wholeheartedly, the recent verdict does not matter. Nothing can sway them; they are steadfast supporters of the Republican candidate. The election's outcome could be decided by the group of undecided voters. In their case, the verdict could play a more significant role and tip the scales in Biden's favour," says the former Polish ambassador to Washington.

As he recalls, voters are guided by emotions, and candidates who stick to the rules do not win.

"Something always blows up"

"If something grabs attention - especially undecided voters - candidates should use it. Anxiety and fear are more powerful tools than satisfaction and contentment. Remember that in the pre-election month - October - 'something always blows up'. Whether it's a scandal or a situation, it becomes a benchmark for the undecided, who vote 'on the spur of the moment'. The question is whether the Democrats can evoke such strong emotions that their voters will go to vote. If Biden's undramatic governance influences them, they won't leave their homes," comments Ryszard Schnepf.

Prof. Zbigniew Lewicki notes that it's similar to undecided voters in every election. "This group makes decisions at the last moment or shortly before the elections. If they go to the elections, they can tip the scales favouring Biden or Trump. If we have a tie now, both candidates must 'play' in the campaign specifically for the undecided," concludes the expert.

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