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The first presidential debate for the 2024 elections in the United States, scheduled for this Thursday (27), in Atlanta, has a good chance of becoming the most fateful debate in the country’s history. At 10 pm Brasília time and 9 pm local time, the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, and the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, debate amid a tight electoral scenario, according to recent polls.

Never has a clash occurred so early in modern American history, even before the party conventions. Both candidates have not yet been formally nominated by their parties, but have already received the approval of the majority of delegates.

In another first, for the first time a former president, Donald Trump, faces the current White House president, Biden.

This Thursday’s clash is the first directly articulated by the two campaigns that rejected the dynamics proposed by the Electoral Debate Commission, which had taken over the organization for decades.

The event will be broadcast on CNN at 10pm (Brasília time) and moderated by journalists Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, two stars of the house — CNN Brasil will also broadcast. There will be 90 minutes in total, with two commercial breaks – but, even at these times, candidates will not be able to be contacted by advisors.

No materials were allowed to be consulted and the two candidates will only have access to a blank piece of paper, a pen and a bottle of water.

Another new feature will be the possibility of microphones being turned off to avoid chaotic scenes in past debates in which one candidate speaks over the other. Each candidate will have two minutes to answer a question, followed by a minute for a reply and a minute for a rebuttal.

At the end, both will have two minutes to make a final speech. Another difference is that there will be no audience in the studio. On the coin, Biden’s campaign gained the option of choosing between the position on the stage or the order of the final speeches. Democrats preferred to ensure that the president occupies the podium on the right, and Trump will have the right to close the debate.

The confrontation organized by CNN is a more arduous task for Biden. The oldest candidate to run in the election, at 81 years old, the Democrat needs to prove that he has the physical and mental conditions to continue as president of the United States.

Biden’s challenge is similar to what Trump faced in the 2020 campaign, when he had to defend his mandate and low approval rating, just like the Republican four years ago.

The current president’s administration has important assets that would have the potential to re-elect almost all of his predecessors in the post-war era. Since assuming the White House, the Biden administration has been responsible for creating 15 million jobs, with an unemployment rate below 4% in the last 27 months.

The indices, however, may not be enough for Biden to reach a second term since post-pandemic voters seem to be much more concerned about high prices at the moment than about abundant work.

On the other hand, Trump must also face a series of sensitive questions, but for his electorate, they must sound like music to the ears.

Democrats installed three billboards on Trump’s arrival route to Atlanta with the phrase “Donald, welcome to Atlanta for the first time since becoming a convicted felon.”

Biden must poke the leader of the American far right by recalling that the former president refused to accept his 2020 electoral defeat and instigated the conservative and reactionary hordes to invade the Capitol on January 6, 2021.


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