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Media Organizations Request for Trump and Biden Debate in Unusual Open Letter

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Media Organizations Request for Trump and Biden Debate in Unusual Open Letter

Media Organizations Request for Trump and Biden Debate in Unusual Open Letter

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Several major news organizations recently signed an open letter that saw them demanding that Trump and Biden publicly commit to participating in televised debates before the general election in November.

It is a strange demand, especially since televised presidential debates are an American tradition that has been kept for decades. However, it makes sense, given the weird reluctance that both men have expressed for debate participation.

It is a strange demand, especially since televised presidential debates are an American tradition that has been kept for decades. However, it makes sense given the weird reluctance that both men have expressed for debate participation.

The Open Letter

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The letter was signed by a unified group of media organizations of all stripes, and their demand is simple: they want the candidates to participate in debates. These groups include big names from wire, print, radio, cable networks, and more.

ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBCUniversal News Group, FOX News Media, The Associated Press, NPR, PBS, USA Today, NewsNation, Noticias Univision (Univision Network News), and C-Span signed the published letter on Sunday.

A Demand for Participation

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The letter says that the time is now to get a commitment on presidential debates since the race landscape is clear. “With the contours of the 2024 general election now coming into clear focus, we — the undersigned national news organizations — urge the presumptive presidential nominees to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November’s election,” the letter reads.

A Rich Tradition

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In the letter, these media organizations argued that televised debates are critical to American democracy.
“General election debates have a rich tradition in our American democracy, having played a vital role in every presidential election of the past 50 years, dating to 1976. In each of those elections, tens of millions have tuned in to watch the candidates debating side by side, in a competition of ideas for the votes of American citizens,” said the letter.

A Polarizing Time

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The letter attempts to invoke the high stakes of these debates, claiming they are even more important now that Americans have become increasingly politically polarized.

“If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high. Amidst that backdrop, there is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other. Before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation,” the letter says.

Trump’s Unusual Move

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During the recent Republican presidential primary, Trump did something unusual by skipping all four debates. Trump, who had a commanding lead in the polls over his competitors, thought they were a waste of his time.

Trump also skipped one of his debates with Joe Biden back in 2020. It should have been a virtual debate, but Trump didn’t like it, so he held a rally instead.

Trump’s Thirst for a Debate With Biden

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Despite skipping out on debates multiple times, Trump has insisted that Biden face him in a debate and has even called on him to commit publicly to them in the past.

“President Trump has been very clear: he is willing to debate Joe Biden any time, any where, any place. We once again call on Joe Biden to commit to debates,” said Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt.

Biden’s Hesitancy

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Joe Biden has been reluctant to commit to a debate against Trump publicly. He and his band of Democrats argue that, given his attitude, running a fair debate with Trump is impossible.

In March, Biden suggested that a possible debate with Trump would depend on his “behavior.” The current POTUS has not made any comments ruling out a debate completely, but he has attempted to frame Trump’s calls for debate as “thirsty for attention.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates

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Since the 1980s, a nonpartisan group known as the Commission on Presidential Debates has organized and sponsored the debates. Some suspect Biden’s reluctance to debate Trump may be related to doubts that they can run the event fairly.

Republicans have also pointed fingers at the group. In 2022, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted unanimously to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates after accusing them of bias.

A Biased Commission

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RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in April 2022 that the commission is untrustworthy enough to run a fair debate. “The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and commonsense reforms to help ensure fair debates, including hosting debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage,” McDaniel said.

Citizens Now Vote Earlier

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Recently, Americans have enjoyed the option to cast their votes earlier and earlier ahead of November. This means voters have been making up their minds about which candidate to choose long before election day.

This trend threatens the prospect of these debates since they have to happen after candidates have received official nominations. This means people in several states have already voted by the time the debates are set up.

The Debate Plans

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The Commission on Presidential Debates will hold the first debate on September 16 in Texas. The second one is proposed to be held on October 1 at Virginia State University, and the third will be held in Utah on October 9.

Early voting in US states occurs as early as 50 days before the election, with the average early voting start date being 27 days before the election.