We Re-Watched the 2020 Trump-Biden Debates. Here’s What We Learned.

Donald Trump likes to cast himself as the outsider on the debate stage. He interrupts, trying to knock his sparring partner off his stride. Joe Biden occasionally becomes snippy and has a habit of speaking straight to the camera. They both play moderator from time to time, asking each other questions. 

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In a dynamic that is unprecedented in recent general elections, the two men who will meet on stage in Atlanta on Thursday have already debated each other twice. Those clashes provide insight into how each of them might attack the other, and how they will try to steer the contest in their favor. 

Along with a number of 2016 GOP primary debates, Trump’s experience includes five one-on-one clashes between 2016 and 2020, where he gained a reputation for flouting the rules. Biden’s half-century in politics, which includes two vice presidential debates and his strong performances in the two 2020 matchups, give his allies confidence that he can handle Trump’s unpredictability.

Karen Townsend

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