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Why Biden Should Not Debate Trump

  
Via:  John Russell  •  one month ago  •  16 comments


Why Biden Should Not Debate Trump
Imagine such a presidential debate. “President Biden,” you could hear the moderator say, “we’ll get to Mr. Trump’s alleged violent coup in a moment, but in this segment, we are discussing food prices.”

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Why Biden Should Not Debate Trump


The networks want their show, but to give the challenger equal status on a TV stage would be a dire normalization of his attempted coup.

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A consortium of television networks yesterday   released a joint statement   inviting President Joe Biden and his presumptive opponent, Donald Trump, to debate on their platforms: “There is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation.”

President Biden’s spokesperson should answer like this: “The Constitution is not debatable. The president does not participate in forums with a person under criminal indictment for his attempt to overthrow the Constitution.”

In their letter of invitation, the networks refer to presidential debates as a “competition of ideas.” But one of the two men they’re inviting turned the last election into a competition of violence: Trump tried to seize the presidency by force in 2021.

If Trump had not occupied the presidency at the time of his attempted coup d’état, he would very likely be already serving a lengthy prison term for his alleged crimes against the 2020 election. Earlier this month, a principal figure in the January 6 attack   was sentenced to seven years in prison , the latest of   many such serious convictions   and sentences. Fortunately for Trump, the U.S. justice system is highly cautious, deferential, and slow when dealing with persons of wealth and importance. Although the followers have been punished, the indicted leader of the plot is unlikely to face trial before Election Day 2024. Until tried and convicted, Trump must be regarded as innocent in the eyes of the law.

But the political system has eyes of its own. No doubt exists about what Trump did, or why, or what his actions meant. Trump lost an election, then incited a violent mob to attack the Capitol. He hoped that the insurrectionists would terrorize, kidnap, or even kill his own vice president in order to stop the ceremony to formalize the victory of Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris. By disrupting the ceremony, Trump schemed to cast the election’s result to the House of Representatives, where Republican voting strength might proclaim him president in place of the lawful winner. Many people were badly injured by Trump’s violent plan, and some died as a result.

The single most important question on the ballot for 2024 is: Does any of this matter? Is violence by losers to overturn election results an acceptable tool of politics? Is anti-constitutional violence by election losers just another political issue, like inflation or immigration or foreign policy? The television executives apparently believe that, yes, violence is just another issue. “If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time,” they write, “it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high.”

“The stakes are high” would be a fair way to describe an election like that of 1980, when Americans faced a choice between two very different approaches to taxes and spending. It would be a fair way to describe the 2004 election, when Americans were asked to choose between an early exit from the Iraq War and staying the course. But it seems a morally trivializing way to describe an election in which one of the candidates has been criminally indicted for his part in a conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution.

Imagine such a presidential debate. “President Biden,” you could hear the moderator say, “we’ll get to Mr. Trump’s alleged violent coup in a moment, but in this segment, we are discussing food prices.”

The role of the television networks here is, unfortunately, not an innocent one. “The stakes of the election are high” is a commencement-address way of phrasing the thought:   We are anticipating huge ratings.   Trump is box office; everybody knows that—and box office translates into revenues at a time when television   is losing   them. For TV executives to convince themselves that what is good for their own bottom line is good for the country seems very easy. But   good for the country   is radically not the case here.

Imagine watching the debate with the sound off—what would you see? Two men, both identified as “president,” standing side by side, receiving equal deference from some of the most famous hosts and anchors on American television. The message:   Violence to overthrow an election is not such a big deal. Some Americans disapprove of it; others have different opinions—that’s why we have debates. Coup d’état:   tip of the hat? Or wag of the finger?

For Biden to refuse to rub elbows with Trump won’t make Trump go away, of course. The Confederacy did not go away when Abraham Lincoln refused to concede the title of president to Jefferson Davis. That’s not why Lincoln consistently denied Davis that title. Lincoln understood how demoralizing it would be to Union-loyal Americans if he accepted the claim that Davis was a president rather than a rebel and an insurrectionist. Biden should understand how demoralizing it would be to democracy-loyal Americans if he accepted the claim that Trump is more than a January 6 defendant.

Biden has engaged in many high-level television debates over the years: vice-presidential   debates   in 2008 and 2012;   debates   for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1987,   2007 , and 2019–20. Biden also debated then-President Trump in the fall of 2020. Biden is and was a capable television communicator, as he demonstrated again in his recent State of the Union address. Biden delivered that address with such force and skill that Trump   had to imply   that Biden must be relying on performance-enhancing drugs. If Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley had won the Republican nomination in 2024, Biden would, and should, have debated them.

But this is different.

Political debates exist to provide voters with relevant information about their electoral choices. The most necessary information that Biden needs to communicate is that Trump is a traitor to the U.S. Constitution. But people will not appreciate something so abnormal if it is habitually characterized as normal.

Many institutions of American life have habits and incentives that lead them to treat Trump’s attempted coup as normal politics. Television and other mass media exhibit worse habits and incentives than most of those institutions. But President Biden does not need to indulge them.

Trump is owed due process in a court of law. He is not owed the courtesies of the office whose oath he betrayed. Biden prefers to keep the temperature of politics low if he can. That’s a good impulse most of the time. But there are occasions when it’s the president’s job to defy the pressure and say no. This debate invitation is one such time.


     

Article is LOCKED by author/seeder
 

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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago
 Fortunately for Trump, the U.S. justice system is highly cautious, deferential, and slow when dealing with persons of wealth and importance. Although the followers have been punished, the indicted leader of the plot is unlikely to face trial before Election Day 2024. Until tried and convicted, Trump must be regarded as innocent in the eyes of the law.

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But the political system has eyes of its own. No doubt exists about what Trump did, or why, or what his actions meant. Trump lost an election, then incited a violent mob to attack the Capitol. He hoped that the insurrectionists would terrorize, kidnap, or even kill his own vice president in order to stop the ceremony to formalize the victory of Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris. By disrupting the ceremony, Trump schemed to cast the election’s result to the House of Representatives, where Republican voting strength might proclaim him president in place of the lawful winner. Many people were badly injured by Trump’s violent plan, and some died as a result.
 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @1    one month ago
Imagine watching the debate with the sound off—what would you see? Two men, both identified as “president,” standing side by side, receiving equal deference from some of the most famous hosts and anchors on American television. The message:      Violence to overthrow an election is not such a big deal. Some Americans disapprove of it; others have different opinions—that’s why we have debates. Coup d’état:      tip of the hat? Or wag of the finger?
 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2  Ronin2    one month ago

Because Brandon might trip on a black sand bag holding his teleprompter in place?

Because Brandon's "Domo Arigoto Mr Roboto" walk will be be obvious for the whole world to see?

Because there might be stairs, stairs, stairs, lurking somewhere for Brandon to fall down?

Because Brandon will lie, lie, lie, and lie some more; and his handlers will have to walk back everything?

Because the media doesn't have enough spin to cover a full debate of Brandon drifting in and out of reality?

Because Democrats are worried Trump yelling at Brandon will blow out his ear piece so he can't hear his handlers feeding him lines?

Because Brandon won't be able to get a copy of the questions in advance?

Because any debate would be in prime time- which is past his bed time?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @2    one month ago

In the 2020 debate Trump interrupted Biden dozens of times, and the moderator could not control him. 

That is enough by itself to justify Biden telling Trump to go fuck himself this time. 

Of course, the reason given in the seeded article is correct too. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    one month ago

The biggest takeaway from 2020 debates is that Biden was able to lie repeatedly with no pushback from the supposed independent media.  

 
 
 
George
Junior Expert
2.1.2  George  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.1.1    one month ago

Maybe they should just eliminate the middleman and allow the moderator to debate trump directly and the senile old fool can sit in the audience and eat ice cream.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Ronin2 @2    one month ago

I'm going to let it go this time. In the future the word "Brandon" will be removed as no value. 

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
2.2.1  Gsquared  replied to  JohnRussell @2.2    one month ago

Use of the term "Brandon" in a comment is the height of stupidity.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
2.2.2  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @2.2    one month ago

That is rich coming from the left.    The kings of making up stupid names.

 
 
 
Gazoo
Junior Silent
2.3  Gazoo  replied to  Ronin2 @2    one month ago

I’ll add one more,

because biden has a record as president now, and it’s an extremely shitty record .

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3  JBB    one month ago

Because debating a felon is beneath the dignity of the Presidency?

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
3.1  Sparty On  replied to  JBB @3    one month ago

I’ll tell Trump that so he doesn’t debate the felon

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
4  Sean Treacy    one month ago

They don’t allow multiple edits to get a minute of coherent talk so debating isn’t an option for Biden. 

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
5  Snuffy    one month ago

On the other side, Biden is facing some of his own party who think he's too old and mentally distracted so performing well in a debate would help combat that. 

 
 
 
George
Junior Expert
6  George    one month ago

Because he is senile and in extreme mental decline and doesn't want it exposed to the entire world.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
7  Sparty On    one month ago

Because Trump would destroy him and everyone on the left knows it.    

We are quickly approaching the basement Biden portion of his 2024 campaign.

 
 

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