Muted mics and no audience: How CNN’s rules affect tonight’s debate

45th President Donald Trump will face off against Joe Biden in a much-anticipated debate Thursday evening, a showdown that has been months in the making. However, political strategists warn that the event’s rules might hinder Trump’s performance and play against his strengths as a debater.

Trump quickly agreed to CNN’s terms last month, which some consider disadvantageous, likely to ensure Biden would participate. Republican strategist John Thomas remarked, “Every single thing about this debate is stacked against [Trump] from both expectation setting game as well as format.”

Trump, who has been challenging Biden to debate for months, speculated that Biden’s team proposed terms they thought he would reject. “They would present it, I would say no, and they would say, ‘We can’t debate because Trump said no,'” Trump told the Washington Examiner.

The debate rules include no live audience and microphones that mute when it’s not a candidate’s turn to speak, preventing interruptions—a technique Trump frequently used in the past. This setup, combined with Trump’s contentious history with CNN, could pose significant challenges.

“Agreeing to the rules is different than abiding by them,” said Republican strategist Kevin Madden, suggesting Trump’s aggressive style might still emerge despite the constraints. Meanwhile, Democratic strategist Brad Bannon noted, “I’m not sure CNN is going to get exactly what they wanted to with the limitations they imposed on the candidates.”

Some Republican strategists believe the mic muting could actually benefit Trump by forcing Biden to speak uninterrupted, potentially revealing weaknesses. “For Trump to win, he needs to be less Trump,” said Republican strategist Brian Seitchik, arguing that Trump appearing more sensible and rational could work in his favor.

However, Trump’s lack of a live audience might be a significant disadvantage. “Trump is an entertainer, and in part, he feeds on the reaction of the room and gets his cues from the room,” Thomas explained.

In preparation, Biden has been at Camp David with his advisors, while Trump’s approach remains more informal. “Trump is Mr. Wing-it,” said strategist Liz Mair, pointing out that Trump tends to produce more memorable soundbites, a potential advantage.

Many strategists believe the debate could pose a greater risk for Biden, given ongoing questions about his mental acuity. “Biden has to prove that he has the stamina and mental acuity to do the job,” said Seitchik.

In the run-up to the debate, Trump and his allies have criticized CNN and speculated about Biden’s debate preparedness, with some suggesting he might use performance-enhancing drugs. Despite these claims, the debate presents an opportunity for both candidates to sway the electorate in a still-evolving 2024 presidential race.

5 thoughts on “Muted mics and no audience: How CNN’s rules affect tonight’s debate”

  1. The Clinton News Network is a Communist-DemonRat controlled Propaganda machine – NOTHING More, and they will do whatever it takes to help the Communist-DemonRat come out headed including fabricating BS

  2. Have to remember that the alphabet news controls free speech and demands control of its broadcasts and all news. Recently watched them shut down conservative guests. The debate will be no different. Also, the demos are having to train their debate contestant.

  3. This is an excellent opportunity for Trump to get his message out and not worry about debating Biden. Biden will implode if Trump does not react to Biden’s nonsense.

  4. Thomas Bachtell

    There is little doubt in my mind that this debate will be ultra revealing. Significantly by illustrating the obvious bias of CNN to all viewers (they simply can’t help it); but also, because Trump will systematically expose the truths about the current policies of the Dem’s to all viewers, most of whom do not get this news from CNN and the mainstream media players. The theme: Are you better off now? I look forward to it! Fingers crossed.

  5. Trump knows he is willingly walking into the lefts version of the valley of the shadow of death and he fears no evil from his opponent who will likely be wired in more than one way. You know Biden has had all the questions to be asked by CNN commentators and you know they will be slanted towards Biden and against Trump. May God and at least a slim majority in the right states be with you.

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