In less than half an hour, the first US presidential debate between Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will be underway, as the candidates approach the final leg of the 2020 election campaign.

The showdown will be broadcast live on free-to-air right across Australia, as the nominees square off publicly for the first time at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

However this election year, in the backdrop of the pandemic, the presidential debates are going to be slightly different with no handshakes, smaller audiences, and prior testing for COVID-19.

With the race down to two men on the wrong side of 70, and the general public not allowed to attend, organisers have had to prepare differently for this event – in an effort to boost entertainment value.

Starting with the decision to have the debate adjudicated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, audiences watching at home can expect the same sensationalist American TV they have grown used being dumbed down by.

Both nominees will be quizzed on their positions towards the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, “race and violence in our cities,” and the “integrity of the election”

Without Hillary Clinton for Donald Trump to use as a punching bag, Americans are hoping for an evening of relentless back-and-forth between the two geriatric citizens.

Brass thumb tacks have also been scattered across the stage, with the expectation that the debate may descend into a physical melee.

On top of this, organisers have precariously placed a steel trash can, ladder and folding chair between the two lecterns – extra points will be awarded to either candidate who chooses to use these household items as weapons.

With Election Day now only 35 days away, it is not clear how much more Americanised TV entertainment can be crammed into what is usually a boring democratic process that most Americans don’t even bother taking part in.



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