No audience, muted microphones, and a tight timing: Biden and Trump debate for the first time

Biden is the oldest of the candidates, and has recently appeared very fragile and sometimes confused. “He has to convince the voter that he can still do it,” says Van den Bulck. “Even though Trump is only a few years younger, it’s mainly about Biden’s age. He has to show that he’s not too old.”

The current president takes this discussion seriously. He has already retreated to his country retreat at Camp David for a week. That full focus is also essential, says Vos. “The moment he seriously stumbles over his words or seems confused can be enough.”

“Democrats hope that Biden will not fall through the cracks by making mistakes, and will come clean,” says US correspondent Björn Sonnens. “He must prove to the American people that, at the age of 81, he is still firmly in control of the reins of the most important country in the world.”

If Biden is not convincing, according to Vos, there is little chance he will be sidelined at the Democratic convention. “It is very unusual and has not happened for years,” he stresses. “But it may be possible. Even if it comes very late, because you are competing against someone who is doing well in the polls and is ready for the elections in November,” he added.

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Denton Watson

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