Whether Joe Biden exists his basement and takes the stage of a debate is still a very real question. We’ve already seen coordinated media efforts to discourage the former VP from going toe to toe with President Trump. The reason why is obvious. Biden simply lacks the mental capacity to stand on a stage, unscripted for two hours. That’s why his press conferences are short and only occur ever couple of months. He can’t handle the job of running a campaign, much less being president.
In fact, as RedState reported earlier, Biden is so incapable that he’s sending Kamala Harris to deliver the rebuttal to Trump’s speech at the RNC. Think about that. The Democrat candidate for president can’t even be counted on to respond to the person he’s running against.
That means that all hands are on deck to either stop Joe Biden from debating or to lower expectations so much that he looks like a winner if he doesn’t drool on himself in the process.
Of note is that the 80 year old Pelosi can at least manage to do a weekly presser, something Biden simply can’t handle at this point. So I give her credit there, but I digress.
Pelosi gives the typical nonsense about not legtimizing Trump by engaging with him. But that’s not really how elections work. One side doesn’t get to decide the other side is illegitimate. They have to run and earn enough votes to actually win. In that sense, Pelosi’s suggestion is fool-hardy. If Biden dropped out of the debates, it would essentially confirm everything that’s been said about his mental decline. Given that, I doubt she actually expects her advice to be followed.
What’s more probable here is that Democrats are rushing to further lower expectations. They want to make it seem like Biden is doing everyone a favor by even showing up against that dastardly orange man. Then, as long as he takes enough pills and remembers his talking points, he’ll probably make it out alive, political speaking.
Of course, the goal might be to land somewhere in the middle, with Biden reluctantly agreeing to do a single debate instead of three. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him try to use the coronavirus as an excuse to make it remote as well. In that case, the game would be completely rigged, as you can expect no debate by zoom to be a real test of mental fortitude.
What’s clear though is that trying to protect Biden in these debates is a very real goal of Democrats, to the point of them suggesting he not show up at all. It was not a right-wing media tempest as CNN tried to paint it.
If I were placing bets, I’d guess Biden agrees to do one debate and does his level best to keep it remote. Everything else going on is an attempt to lower expectations and stack the deck. But I’m not sure he can get away with it anymore. Public opinion is shifting in Trump’s favor over the last week and Biden has to actually show himself to be a leader that can handle the flames. Right now, he’s failing that test. Skipping out on full slate of debates, or trying to greatly diminish their effect, would likely backfire.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)