Whatever happens Tuesday night when former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump square off for the first time, chances are it will set the tempo for the rest of the campaign. At the outset, the goals for each are pretty clear.

Biden needs to show competence, temperament and some connection to what’s ailing Americans now while Trump needs to show Biden unable to handle the pressure, without being too much of a buffoon about it. Here are 10 things to watch for as the first debate unfolds:

1. Taxes — This is less of a gift to Biden than a well-scheduled reveal. Can Biden hammer Trump with it in a way that underscores the economic anger many feel but has been little discussed since Sanders and Warren left the stage?

2. Hunter — A hit is inevitable, it's how Biden takes it that matters. He needs to stand up for his family but also admit his son's behavior is unseemly and should have consequences like the rest of us would face in a similar situation.

3. China — Trump will saddle Biden with the Establishment’s coddling of China over the past three decades; will Biden be able to stand his own in the eyes of blue collar Americans who have lost much as China rose?

4. COVID-19 — This is not the number one issue and hopefully the Biden camp now knows this, but it’s central. Can Biden effectively point to how Trump has bungled the response and flag a better solution; can Trump demonstrate he’s handled it as well as anyone could?

5. Hanging Reports — In the last six months we’ve seen reports that Russia is paying bounties on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan; that Trump called war casualties “losers” and “suckers"; and that Trump, according to former lawyer Michael Cohen and niece Mary Trump, is a racist. Will these be addressed or left in the background to lurk?

6. Socialism — Trump will try and paint Biden as weak with respect to the Democrats’ left wing, putting the nominee at the head of a disparate coalition in a tough spot. How will Biden respond?

7. SCOTUS Confirmation Fight — Expect a lot of “I was there when” from Biden. For Trump this is a test of how well he can stay on message.

8. Who is the primary aggressor? Logically it should be Biden but Trump is who he is. The cadence of attacks, how the candidates and moderators handle them, and what image of “fitness” viewers have in our heads when it's over matter a great deal.

9. Test of how real-time fact checking works, especially with these two. Will the debate hosts have the ability to enforce some standard of truth, and

10. Memorable moments: Kennedy challenged Nixon on the missile gap, when questioned about his age, Reagan said he wouldn’t hold his  opponent’s youth and inexperience against him, Al Gore rolled his eyes and Obama told Romney the eighties were calling and wanted their foreign policy back (the Russians a threat, really?) What will be Tuesday’s memorable moments?

The Democratic primary process showed debates not counting for much. Now that’s changed. Get your popcorn and settle in.

Sam Patten is a recovering political consultant who was raised in Knox County and worked for Maine’s last three Republican senators.