Politics Friday

Politics Friday: The stage is set for a Biden, Trump debate that could have implications on a tight race

Donald Trump and Joe Biden participate in final debate
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the election on Nov. 3.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Democrat Joe Biden, the current president, and Republican Donald Trump, the former president, meet Thursday, June 27, for the first debate either candidate has been in since 2020. 

The presumed presidential rematch has been set for months — with both candidates earning the necessary primary wins to gain their party nominations, which they’ll formally accept at conventions later this summer. 

MPR News host Brian Bakst talks with presidential scholars and a former presidential candidate about the work it takes to prepare for a presidential debate and how Thursday’s debate could impact both campaigns over the next few months. 

Politics Friday will return to the airwaves later this fall for our weekly coverage of the 2024 Election. Until then, we’re coming straight to your podcast feeds — occasionally — throughout the summer.


  • Tim Pawlenty is the former governor of Minnesota. He served from 2003 to 2011 and sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. 

  • Tammy Vigil is the senior associate dean and associate professor of media science at Boston University. Previously, she has done work for the Commission on Presidential Debates. 

  • Timothy Naftali is a presidential historian and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. He’s a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.