On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden will face each other in the first of three presidential debates. It is expected that the main goal of each candidate will be to win over voters in battleground states, which will ultimately decide the direction of the election, and each candidate has been advised to work the debate from angles to support their chances at swaying voters.

Biden’s advisers have instructed him to avoid fact-checking Trump, unlike 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton did during her debates against Trump. He has reportedly been told to appeal to his empathetic nature and “communicate directly to the American people.” Biden is expected to appeal to voters as a bipartisan candidate, and portray Trump as the reason for the country’s polarized divide.

Biden has also been told to prepare for Trump putting his family members in the spotlight, specifically son Hunter Biden’s past conflict of interest in the Ukraine. Biden is also expected to compare and contrast his values and beliefs with Trump’s; for instance, explaining how he plans to handle the ongoing pandemic as a president who believes in science.

Former Clinton aide Philippe Reines said that Biden can’t waste his time in self-defense against any attack Trump sends his way, unlike his strategy to Clinton in 2016.

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“If you find yourself defending yourself for more than 10 seconds, then stop,” Reines said, explaining the importance of communicating to the hundreds of million voters watching, rather than arguing with the incumbent.

Trump has reportedly been preparing for the debate by working on his communication with the media, rather than intense preparation sessions (Biden took several days off the campaign trial preparing with advisers at home in Wilmington, Delaware). Trump aides have said that they want to utilize some of Biden’s more liberal positions, such as his support of the Green New Deal, in order to paint him as a supporter of far-left ideas.

Trump’s performance on Tuesday also heavily depends on Biden’s. Trump has dubbed Biden “Sleepy Joe,” after several clips of Biden losing his train of thought mid-speech have gone viral. If Biden performs well on Tuesday, and Trump is left to rely on the excuse that Biden is using performance-enhancing drugs, it’s going to reflect poorly on Trump’s ability to debate. However, if Biden does slip-up like he has in the past, it will help Trump’s support among Republicans and the moderate voters Trump is depending on to get reelected.

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