The Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit that traditionally runs the process, announced on Friday that the topics for the October 22 debate have been picked by moderator Kristen Welker of NBC. They will range from fighting Covid-19 and climate change to leadership, families and race.
Debate topics for third debate disclosed:
Nothing on the economy (top issue in Gallup)
Nothing on immigration
Nothing on healthcare
Nothing on law enforcement
Nothing on education
Climate change was a topic added by Fox's Wallace in the first debate. It returns again here. https://t.co/ja7vUI3Tm9
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) October 16, 2020
Welker’s choice of topics raised more than a few eyebrows, however. Joe Concha, The Hill’s media reporter, pointed out that economy – the top-ranked topic in the polls – is missing entirely. Immigration, healthcare, law enforcement and education are likewise absent.
Gallup, which Concha referenced, actually lists the economy as the foremost topic on the mind of American voters, at 89 percent, followed by “terrorism and national security” at 83, education, healthcare, and crime. The coronavirus comes in at number six with 77 percent, followed by race relations at 76. This is from a survey published earlier this month.
Another reporter to question Welker’s choice of topics was Byron York of the Washington Examiner, bringing up Pew Research by way of contrast.
Upcoming October 22 presidential debate topics from CPD, and voters' top issues, from Pew in August: pic.twitter.com/GTV3AXwYn1
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 16, 2020
The top four issues in Pew’s survey, conducted in August, are the economy, healthcare, the US Supreme Court – also absent from Welker’s topics – and the coronavirus, in that order. A Pew analysis of the subject of climate change, published this month, shows that 91 percent of Biden voters consider it very or somewhat important, compared to just 40 percent of Trump’s.
Originally intended to be the third debate, the second and last Trump-Biden duel is scheduled for October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The second debate, originally scheduled for October 15, was canceled after the CPD changed the rules and insisted on it being virtual, citing President Trump’s Covid-19 infection from which he has since recovered.
The intended moderator for that debate, Steve Scully of C-SPAN, has been suspended for falsely claiming he was “hacked” when caught asking for advice on Twitter from former Trump supporter turned critic Anthony Scaramucci.
Amid that controversy, Welker quietly deleted her own Twitter account, without explanation. The NBC anchor used to report from the White House for MSNBC and covered Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.
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