The existential threat debate scorecard you’ve been waiting for

By Thomas Gaulkin | October 21, 2020

Here it is, the Bulletin’s updated existential threat scorecard for the final debate of this presidential campaign. Like our previous scorecards, it lists very important subjects we sincerely hope the candidates (or at least the moderator) will address—since they have to do with, you know, threats to humanity’s existence.

The bad news is, there’s still no certainty there will even be a debate given the chaos of the first one (even the official web address for the September 29 debate in Cleveland seemed to warn a debacle was coming:, followed by Trump’s “firsthand experience” with COVID-19 and the cancellation of the second debate. For now, it’s scheduled for Thursday night, October 22, at 9pm Eastern, and despite Donald Trump’s complaints about having his microphone cut under new debate commission rules, at press time both he and Joe Biden were still planning to show up.

The good news is, moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News has announced the topics ahead of time, giving both the candidates and the rest of us ample opportunity to anticipate exactly how they won’t be adequately addressed. Even the Debate Commission is hedging its bets, cautioning that the planned topics are “subject to possible changes because of news developments”:

If Welker and co. manage to stick to that list, you might actually get a chance to check things off like “clean energy revolution” or “New START” or “listen to the scientists.”

So, for the last time: Will they or won’t they? Download your scorecard here and let’s find out together.


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