Tuesday 21 January 2020

US Presidential debate: Five things you need to know before Trump and Clinton's second round

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Daire Courtney

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will go head to head for the second US Presidential debate on Sunday evening.

Here are the five things you need to know before tonight's debate.

1. How, where and when to watch it

The second debate will take place in Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri at 9pm Eastern Standard Time; that’s 2am in Ireland. The debate will last 90 minutes and you can watch a live stream here:

2. The new format

Tonight’s debate is a town hall-style event. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face questions from the audience, which will be made up of undecided voters.

Candidates will have two minutes to respond to the questions, and moderators may extend the questions by a minute.

3. The big issues

The audience are expected to focus on big issues in domestic politics, since the last debate will focus on foreign policy.

Gun control will undoubtedly be on the agenda, if the votes cast on the website posting questions are anything to go by; the most popular question relates to criminal background checks for buying guns.

Climate change, social security and campaign finance have also been tipped as issues to watch out for.

The issue of character will almost certainly come up in the wake of a leaked video from 2005 which depicts Donald Trump making casual remarks about groping women and his accusations that Hillary Clinton is ‘crooked’.

Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and paid speeches got relatively little airtime in the last debate, and may get more scrutiny tonight.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump before Monday night’s debate. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

4. The stakes

Following Trump’s video scandal, the Republican nominee is under fire from every direction: voters, media and his own party.

His running mate and even his wife condemned the comments and several prominent Republican politicians have called for him to drop out of the race and allow Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence to take over.

Expectations could not be lower for Trump, with the New York Times claiming that Hillary Clinton has an 83pc chance of winning the election.

If he can use the debate to show voters a more presidential side to himself, he could see a bump in the polls. It seems unlikely, since his debate prep is still lacking, but Hillary Clinton would be wrong to count her chickens.

US Electi (20).jpg
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

5. The moderators

This debate will be moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

These two veteran journalists will face a little less of the spotlight than Lester Holt at the last debate, since the questions are coming from voters and neither will have to do it alone.

But the two will be under intense pressure after the last debate.

Lester Holt was accused by Democrats of being too soft on Trump’s misinformation and by Republicans of failing to ask Hillary Clinton tough questions. Some Trump supporters are already accusing Cooper and Raddatz of bias against Trump, and they will have to strike a delicate balance to temper the accusations.

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