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CNN Biden/Trump POTUS Debate Rules: Muted Mics, No Audience & More

We're learning more about how CNN's debate between President Joe Biden and Ex-POTUS & Convicted Felon Donald Trump will go down on June 27th.

With only twelve days to go until President Joseph Biden and ex-reality show host, multi-impeached ex-POTUS & convicted felon Donald Trump (most likely) go one-on-one during CNN's Jake Tapper and Dana Bash-moderated Presidential Debate, we actually have some rules to pass along regarding how the whole thing is going to go down. When the debate kicks off on Thursday, June 27th, in Atlanta, there won't be a studio audience/stacked group of supporters for the respective candidates. Over the course of the 90-minute "lovefest," there will be two commercial breaks (curious what the ads are for this one) – with the candidates off-limits to their respective staffs during those breaks. Candidates have agreed upon a uniform podium (as opposed to customized, DIY podiums?) – with their podium positions determined by a coin toss (we would prefer some of The Price Is Right's "Showcase Showdown" big wheel-spinnin', personally). Candidates will each be given a pen, paper, and a bottle of water – anything else (props, notes, etc.) is a big no-no.

Image: FOX TV/Late Night with Seth Meyers

Now, here's where it could get really interesting. Candidates' microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak. You can already see Trump whining after the debate leaves him a steaming pile of nothingness about how he was "unfairly muted" when he should've been given a chance to respond – Tapper and Bash are already getting the blame for something that hasn't (and won't) happen. In a letter sent to the candidates, it was noted by the network that Tapper and Bash "will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion." If that's the case – and since we're already going to have mics being muted – how about we also have real-time fact-checking going on and the candidates getting called out for their misinformation live?

As for which candidates are eligible (considering President Biden, Trump, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein are all in play), CNN also detailed the requirements to be able to make the stage. First, being in line with what's detailed in Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution – which they all are. In addition, each of them would've needed to file a formal statement of candidacy to the Federal Election Commission – which they all did. But where it becomes a brutal uphill climb for Kennedy Jr. and impossible for West in Stein is when we get to state ballots, electoral votes, and polling:

All participating debaters must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency and receive at least 15% in four separate national polls of registered or likely voters that meet CNN's standards for reporting. Polls that meet those standards are those sponsored by CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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