Vermont experts weigh in on first presidential debate

Local News

The first presidential debate of this election season kicks off Tuesday as President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden prepare for the final month of campaigning.

Trump and Biden will discuss a wide range of topics, but Middlebury College’s political science professor Matthew Dickinson says the evening will most likely center around the pandemic and the economy. Dickinson says the debate will reveal what the candidates consider most important.

“They are really not horse races in which someone wins or loses. Really, what the debate tells you is…’What does the candidate stand for?’ ‘What’s their message,'” said Dickinson.

He says the first debate can help those who may be undecided. But political science professor Daniel Simmons from St. Michael’s College predicts Trump and Biden will trade quite a few quips.

“At this particular moment in our history, it’s just not something that I feel is…that we can afford to spend an hour listening to our two candidate trade quips with each other,” said Simmons.

Simmons says the debates tend to be more about shaping the agenda than informing the voters, but he expects many people to tune in.

“The election isn’t so much exciting as it is critical to a lot of people’s livelihoods,” said Simmons.

Debates are also scheduled for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. The vice presidential debate will take place Oct. 7.

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