How to watch tonight's dueling Biden/Trump town halls

Andy Downing
Trump and Biden on the debate stage in Cleveland.

Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump were initially scheduled to square off in the second presidential debate today, an event that was scrapped in the wake of Trump's positive COVID diagnosis earlier this month and his subsequent refusal to partake in a virtual debate.

As a result, Biden quickly pivoted, scheduling a 90-minute town hall event with ABC News, during which he'll field questions from voters. Trump later expressed a desire to hold his own town hall, and NBC News acquiesced, scheduling its event for the exact same day and time as the ABC event. Both are now scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. tonight (Thursday, Oct. 15).

NBC's decision was immediately met with backlash, with some noting that by scheduling the Trump event for the same time as Biden's, the network was depriving voters of the opportunity to hear from both candidates (a situation that could have been avoided by scheduling the town hall for another day or time). Some critics have also pointed out NBC's long history with Trump, which has done much to both catapult him into and keep him in the public eye, in addition to giving him televised opportunities to soften his edges.

Predictably, Trump hopes to use a win in head-to-head TV ratings as a cudgel with which to hammer at his opponent, according to The Daily Beast“He looks at this the same way he looks at attendance at his rallies versus the [turnout] Biden gets for his events,” a source familiar with the president's thinking told the publication. “He obviously wants to blow Biden out of the water.”

Keeping all of this in mind, we present you with Alive's step-by-step guide to taking in tonight's dueling town halls.

Step 1: Turn on Biden's ABC News town hall at 8 p.m.

Step 2: Leave it on

Step 3: Carry on living your life