scroll to top arrow or icon

Step up to the mic: What would you ask Biden and Trump?

Step up to the mic: What would you ask Biden and Trump?

In the run-up to Thursday night’s presidential debate, we asked GZERO readers to play moderator and draft questions for the two main contenders, Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Some even took up the challenge of posing the toughest questions either candidate could face.

Our inbox was soon overflowing with thoughtful responses like these:

Andrew Vickery, Lenox, MA

“It seems that America is on the path to become its own worst enemy. Lack of trust in democratic institutions. Declining public education. Vulnerable critical infrastructure (in terms of security). Identity politics. What will you do to strengthen the US domestically and decrease polarization? How will you remind Americans how lucky we are to be born here?”


Ward Greer, Bernardsville, NJ

“For me, policy issues are not as important in the debate as the ability of the candidates to coherently and presidentially respond to the questions being posed.”



For both: “What moral values or principles guide you when you have to make a difficult decision?”

For Biden: “Did you ask your son not to accept a position with Burisma when you were engaged in questioning the Ukrainian investigation of Burisma in order to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest?”

For Trump: “Do you think the states have done a good job legislating around the issue of abortion since the end of Roe?”


John W. Allen, NY, NY

“What is your definition of a con man?”


David Boling, Arlington, VA

“Please tell us a characteristic that you admire in your opponent.”


JK, Waterloo, ON

“Why didn't you step aside for a younger leader? Do you believe a younger leader couldn't do the job as well as you?”

“Any tough questions will be dismissed as both are experienced at not answering the question asked. It depends on whether the opponent can capitalize on the dismissal answer and turn it into a talking point that becomes part of the highlight reel of the debate.”


John Morey, Woods Hole, MA

“If you could have dinner with a past or present political figure of the opposing party, living or dead, who would that be and why?”


Steve from The Bronx, NYC

“Name the top 5 functions of the federal government in Washington:


1 defense
2 currency/debt
3 border control
4 population safety
5 national infrastructure”


Hanna Bärlund, Finland

Which of the current American politicians do you think is smarter or more intelligent than you and would you hire him/her to your staff in the White House?


Brad Michaelson, Scottsdale, AZ

“If you lose, will you accept the results of the election? If either refuses, I would end the debate or as a participant, walk away. If you can’t/won’t accept the results of an American election, you can’t be expected to uphold the fundamental element of this government.”

Hardest question for Biden: “Who does America support in Gaza?” Follow up: “How would you handle Iraq involvement?”

For Trump: “What exactly is the Deep State?” Follow up: “How does it work?”


Tom Quinn, Easthampton, Massachusetts

“Describe what being an American means to you. What traits, qualities, responsibilities, and expectations are there for the American citizen? Please answer the question from your heart and not some prescripted response.”


Laurie Miller, Raleigh, NC

“What will you enact over the next 6-12 months that will make life better for the average American on the street?”

For Biden: “Why was this election not the time for someone younger to step forward for the Democratic nomination?”

For Trump: “Should a convicted felon be allowed to hold the office of President?”


Emily Vondrak, Sioux City, IA

“We have a number of national crises impacting the US today – the border, high interest rates, national debt, drug overdoses, crime spikes, international conflict to name a few. If you could choose one to fully solve during your second term, which would it be and why?”

Tough question for Biden: “It will be hardest for him to defend his strategy at the Southern border. There is really no good answer. A close second is making any definitive statement about Israel. It will need to be somewhat vague or he will further alienate a portion of his own party.”

Tough question for Trump: “He will use his conviction as further evidence of what he considers a political agenda, but it will be hard to talk about that being political and not admit the case against Hunter Biden was also politically motivated – it would be drenched with hypocrisy.”


Richard Willerton, Vancouver WA

“Draw a map of the world with the names of all the countries you have time for. The lower gets his ass kicked by the winner.”


Robert Clark, New York, NY

“The excess of births over deaths has fallen by about 2/3rds in the last 15 years and is projected to head to zero. Population growth directly impacts our capacity to control inflation, address the national debt, and compete economically in a competitive global economy. As a policy goal, do you believe that the United States should target a significant net legal immigration – immigration on our terms according to our laws – as a desirable outcome, and if so, how would you propose we rewrite our failed immigration laws to achieve that national goal?”

Toughest question for Biden: “Mr. President, polls in the key battleground states show you trailing the Democrat's candidate for Senate by 4 to 13 points. Other polling suggests this is less about your performance as President than concerns about your capacity to serve another 4-year term due to age. Given this reality, the reality of voters' concerns here, why not "show them how to say goodbye" to quote the song from Hamilton, and retire to Delaware as a revered statesman who devoted his life to public service? Why not go out on top and hand the mantle of leadership to the next generation?”

Toughest question for Trump: “President Trump, your playful prediction that you could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and you wouldn't lose any supporters has proven prescient, as your criminal indictments, losses at trial, and recent felony conviction really haven't materially reduced support from your base. But outside of your base, Americans express concern that you are a liar, a serial adulterer, undermine relations with our allies, have no interest in safeguarding American institutions at the core of our democracy, attempted to subvert the peaceful transition of power in the last election, act entirely out of self-interest often in full disregard of the rule of law, and in short are wholly unfit to hold any position of trust in society, much less the Presidency. Do you think you need to attract voters outside your base and if so, how would you answer those concerns?

(Robert Clark, Robert Clark, New York, NY – permission granted)


Bruce Beck, Salt Lake City, Utah

“What is your definition of 'poison blood'?”


Michael Tanchek, Carson City, Nevada

Out of more than 210 million Americans over the age of 35, what makes you think you are the most qualified to be President?


David Taylor, Bourne End, UK

“Given that the mental acuity of both candidates is declining rapidly and the majority of the electorate would prefer other candidates, why have you not stepped aside in favour of a younger candidate?”


Sharon Weight, Half Moon Bay, CA

“What systemic, specific changes would you make to any Federal programs to reduce the deficit? “


Subscribe to GZERO's daily newsletter