But the first such town hall of the 2020 campaign will be far more complicated than that. In recent years, it has had as much effect on the presidential contest as the primaries. In the early days of 2016, for example, it was the town hall where Trump concluded he could promise the Mexican government that he wouldn’t deport the “murderers and rapists” it has sent to the United States, and Trump reassured Americans that “I alone can fix it.” Both Trump and Clinton ended up adopting many of those positions. They were undecided at the time.
This year, though, the format is similar to that of the last presidential town hall — a combination of taped and simulcast. There will not be two talkers, but one — like the one on NBC in August, where Graham critiqued Trump but seemed less comfortable sparring with Clinton, or the one on CNN in September, where they discussed the Russian probe rather than their own emails.
In general, two questions will be posed to the candidates: one early on, and one toward the end.
The CBS town hall will be hosted by Gayle King, with Wolf Blitzer as moderator. We’re live-streaming it: here.
The CNN town hall will be hosted by Anderson Cooper, with Jake Tapper as moderator. We’re live-streaming it: here.
The CBS one is from Georgia, in a town called Macon. CNN’s is from New Hampshire, in a town named Nashua.