Presidential Debates Watch 2020 [Updated]



I am going to have an election aftermath party with one of my study groups, using a Streamlabs "call in" format. This entry will present a 'live' debate watch-along for the Cleveland encounter between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

I'll post the Streamyard link here below, just in case anyone feels the urge to call in and give me (or Biden or Trump or Chris Wallace) a talking-to.

I suspect tonight and the next two debate nights next month will not affect the electorate -- except perhaps through heightening or reinforcing prior impressions, plus maybe small extra gusts added to whichever way the wind was blowing before audiences witness the encounters.

The headlines are already written for the first hot takes ...


Edited by william.scherk


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At the link is your key to enter the Live backstage 'studio' at StreamYard. You will need a laptop or desktop and a Chromium-based browser (almost all browsers today are, but Chrome and Firefox are problem-free). You also need to agree to add your microphone and add yourself to the show. You can use a camera or not. It will not be recorded by StreamYard or me.

[Defunct link]

Edited by william.scherk
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The experimental studio club worked, but the sound quality was atrocious. For the next watch night I'll radically simplify my use of StreamYard -- without interposing my audio mixer or video mixer. 

The debate I watched last night was an ordeal, given that the moderator lost control of the format early on. The best part of the pre-debate coverage (FoxNews) for me was when the Trump clan came out to take their seats. 

Here is a dumb idea taking shape: 


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Sage advice, or slightly wrong, or what? This was just posted yesterday: 


In any debate, when one candidate has a more imposing physical presence and a greater ability to discuss issues, it makes little sense to interrupt and thereby lend sympathy to the flailing and the frail.

The nonstop advice that Trump is receiving, often from the very swing voters he needs to win over, is sound—be aggressive in pressing Biden for answers without being interruptive or rude; smile and relax; don’t grimace, eye roll or scowl. Trump knows what he must do because he did it well enough in the town hall, and saw Vice President Pence do it effectively against Kamala Harris—firmly demonstrate to the American people that Biden cannot honestly answer questions because to do so for him would either offend the Left or the majority of the American people.

On substance Trump need not recount all the litanies of injury suffered at the hands of the media/progressive party fusion. He has done so and earned our empathy. But that was then, and this is now—and now is the very future of the country.

From his frenetic pace on the campaign trail, Trump has mastered four-five minutes of reviewing his record. And it is one he can run on and win: expanding the economy, stopping most illegal immigration, empowering minorities economically in historic fashion, making superb judicial appointments, recalibrating U.S. foreign policy on Iran and the Middle East, confronting China, restoring the industrial heartland, and ending optional overseas interventions while increasing the military budget. And he can recount all this with “we” rather than “I” as he so often does on the campaign trail.


Trump should expect the moderator to be biased. But so what?  They all have been and most likely will always be.

Trump should now be ready for—and the American people are already bored by—the gotcha questions and the ‘when did you stop beating your wife’ monotonies. He need not get mad, but get even by rising above both. So when he debates both Biden and the moderator, he can laugh at their desperation in the Reagan fashion of “there you go again”.

On the scandals he need not go into the weeds of Mueller, China, Burisma, and the labyrinth of Clinton-Obama-Biden corruption. Most don’t want to hear the details.


Trump can frame his own exasperation with the Left’s assault on our institutions in a bipartisan appeal:

“Whatever your politics, join me in restoring our institutions. Americans, left or right, Republican or Democrat, cannot remain free if our traditional and social media are not independent and fair. None of us will have a future if our elite collude with China to further its interests over ours. Without the police, none of us are safe, in the inner city or the suburbs. And we all want Washington officials to serve Americans, not waste our precious resources trying to destroy them. Don’t help Joe Biden make America into something it never was and must never be.”


I believe that this debate tonight will be Trump's to lose. He doesn't have to do anything other than be in the moment. 

I think Biden may have over-prepared, to the point of having his mind bulging with set-pieces and statistics and other wonkish detail.  

I believe Trump knows how to show strength and iron will -- without rancor or belligerence.

-- the New York Times has a handy note for debate watchers. 


  • The debate will be televised on channels including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, C-SPAN, PBS, Fox News and MSNBC.

  • Many news outlets, including ABC,CBSNBCPBSFox New sand C-SPAN, will stream the debate on YouTube.

  • The Roku Channel will carry streams from several news outlets.

  • The streaming network Newsy will carry the debate on several platforms.


[Corrected "in Miami"]

Edited by william.scherk
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