Cleveland steps back into the national spotlight this evening as host to the first presidential debate of the 2020 election.
Cleveland stepped in when the University of Notre Dame withdrew as host due to complications created by the coronavirus pandemic in staging the event on its campus.
President Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden will debate at the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion located at the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University's Health Education Campus.
The debate begins at 9pm and will last 90-minutes.
The City of Cleveland is preparing for the debate which takes place as divisions between Americans create strain for supporters of both candidates. Protesters are expected to gather in Cleveland. The National Guard has been called up to assist Cleveland Police. The coronavirus pandemic also adds a layer of security and preparation to the debate as precautions have been taken to prevent the virus from spreading. Media covering the event have been required to submit to a COVID-19 test in order to be gain admittance to the debate.
The debate in Cleveland will be the first of the 2020 election and will bring both candidates face to face on topics ranging from COVID-19 to the integrity of the election. The moderator of the debate, Chris Wallace of Fox News, pre-selected the topics.
Ohio usually enjoys status during election cycles and while the state went for Donald Trump in 2016 recent polls indicate the race is very close in the Buckeye State and potentially up for grabs.
A majority of voters say they have already made up their minds about who they will cast their ballot for in the election, but a small remaining percentage of undecided voters say the debates will help them choose a candidate. The debate is predicted to draw an enormous audience. Early voting will begin in Ohio on October 6 and some states have already started voting. Election Day is November 3.
Nick Castele, Reporter, Ideastream
Lisa Ryan, Health Reporter, Ideastream
David B. Cohen, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Interim Director, Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, University of Akron
Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball, The University of Virginia Center for Politics