The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced the dates and locations for the three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate in 2024. However, it remains uncertain whether any candidate will actually attend these events.
The first presidential debate is scheduled for September 16th at Texas State University, followed by the second debate on October 1st at Virginia State University, and the third debate on October 9th at the University of Utah. The vice presidential debate will take place on September 25th at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.
The Commission on Presidential Debates stated that these events offer an opportunity for the leading candidates to address serious issues in a fair and neutral setting. The tradition of these debates has remained unbroken since the 1970s. However, the participation of the candidates is still up in the air.
Last year, the Republican National Committee (RNC) unanimously voted to prohibit its presidential candidates from participating in debates sponsored by the Commission, citing bias and a need for newer, better debate platforms. The RNC expressed concerns about the timing of the first debate, changes to the agreed-upon formats, the selection of a moderator with previous ties to a Democratic nominee, and the lack of nonpartisanship.
This ongoing rift between the RNC and the Commission was evident in 2020 when former President Donald Trump refused to participate in the second presidential debate due to it being held virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump has also declined to attend every primary debate this year, including those sanctioned by the RNC. However, he has expressed interest in debating President Joe Biden if they both become their party's nominee.
President Biden, on the other hand, has not explicitly stated whether he will participate in the debates against Trump. The outcome of these debates will significantly impact the decades-long tradition surrounding presidential elections if the RNC successfully bars its candidates from participating and Trump follows suit.
As the drama surrounding the debates unfolds, the Commission on Presidential Debates assures the public that all three debates will begin at 9 PM Eastern Time and run for 90 minutes without commercials. More details regarding the formats and moderators for each debate will be announced next year.