Inside Story

How important to the US presidential election are debates?

Donald Trump accepts a challenge to face off against President Joe Biden in new-format televised contest.

US President Joe Biden has challenged Donald Trump, his likely main rival in the 2024 election, to two televised debates in the run-up to the polls in November.

Trump was quick to accept the invitation – saying he would debate Biden anytime, any day.

Biden has deviated from the conventional timings, style and organisers.

The date for the first sparring match is so early that neither candidate will have formally accepted their party’s nomination.

And for at least that debate, there will be no live audience.

The two men are already exchanging insults on social media.

So what are the key issues to look out for – if and when they face each other?

And how important are these debates?

Presenter: Elizabeth Puranam


Brian Stelter – Journalist and specialist on US media

Elaine Kamarck – Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

Steve Herman – Chief national correspondent at Voice Of America