Why Biden might happily debate Trump in June

The president was coy about whether he planned to debate his Republican opponent. But if he passes, he will be the first president since Richard Nixon in 1972 to skip the debate process entirely.

Because there have been repeated questions about his age and his ability to hold office for another four years, the move to avoid a presidential confrontation would risk convincing the public that he is not up to the task. service.

True, he can set the terms of the debate in his favor. The two events will be hosted by CNN and ABC News rather than Fox News, to avoid a debate moderator with obvious right-wing leanings.

The June debate will be held at CNN’s Atlanta studios without a live audience, which may also benefit the president, whose crowd is less enthusiastic than the former president’s. It also ensures Mr. Biden will not be interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters, which has been a concern of the campaign in recent public appearances.

There are some ways that the early timing of the first debate – held, contrary to tradition, before the summer party nominating convention – could also help Mr Biden.

First, it would allow his team an earlier opportunity to frame the election as a binary choice between Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden. Mr. Biden’s advisers have long argued that as the public becomes more aware of the possibility of another Trump presidency, Democratic support will strengthen.

Second, the debate in June gives Mr. Biden more time to recover if he has a weak performance. Current presidents – from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama – all have a history of poor first debates. If Biden follows this trend, he will have months, including what is sure to be a carefully scripted Democratic convention speech, to recover.

Of course, this plan also has risks. If he still follows in October, there won’t be any high-profile debates, with audiences in the tens of millions, to shake things up. There’s also the possibility that he’s having difficulties, which could lead to questioning his decision to participate. And if he falters seriously in June, it could reinforce the public view that he is so inadequate to the task that there is no convention speech or multimillion-dollar advertising campaign No dollar can change that.


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