Yesterday, Joe Biden announced that he won’t travel to Wisconsin to accept the Democratic Party nomination. Yes, the man who wants to be president is using coronavirus as an excuse to not travel at all now. I bring that up to make a prediction.
He's not gonna debate, guys. https://t.co/vYyGUNxp7y
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) August 5, 2020
As we’ve seen over the last week or so, the media have been field testing all kinds of excuses to keep Joe Biden from having to face Donald Trump on a debate stage (see Flop Sweat Builds As Efforts to Stop Joe Biden From Debating Donald Trump Heat Up). The reason is obvious. Biden is incapable of operating in anything more than a short, heavily scripted setting, typically from his basement. When he does go in public, he has extensive notes, a time limit, and will only call on reporters he’s been given a list of.
For a recent example of his mental collapse, see Joe Biden Spins Another Epic Word Salad, Shows His Fealty to China In the Process.
Now, we’ve got another test run happening. The Washington Post’s “fact-checker” has decided that debates don’t need to happen before voting starts because of polls or something.
More debates would be great for fact checkers. But since the electorate is now so polarized, how likely is it that many people will change their votes because of a presidential debate? Polls show most voters have made up their minds. https://t.co/k3scx1nGa8
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) August 6, 2020
Kessler himself doesn’t expressly call for all debates to be called off, but it’s his insinuation that the debates are meaningless that matters here.
Not only will Biden likely claim it’s too dangerous to debate in person, his surrogates and their media allies will say the debates just aren’t that important. After all, we are so polarized that no one will change their mind anyway, right? Of course, by Kessler’s logic, why vote at all? The polls say Biden is going to win, so let’s avoid the hassle and pronounce him president already.
Whether you think any of those assumptions are true depends on how much you trust the polls. I tend to think averages and big picture trends matter, as does the Trump campaign given they fired Brad Parscale for his weak performance as campaign manager. What I don’t buy is that things can’t change, up to and including in the final week of the cycle. Kessler seems to be suggesting that whatever snapshot in time we have today is set in stone. It’s not and that’s not how polling is supposed to work or be interpreted.
But again, this is more about providing another excuse for the Biden campaign to dip out on debates than anything else. To be fair, there are multiple possibilities here. Joe Biden may still “debate,” but I suspect he’ll try to make it a live stream instead of in person. That would completely defeat the point, as a live stream from his basement would allow him to use notes and be fed answers with impunity. It would also allow for far more games from the moderators, as it’s easier to talk over someone on a split-screen than in person with a crowd behind you.
Regardless, you would expect a supposed journalist like Kessler to be rooting for more debates and transparency. Instead, he’s basically shrugging and suggesting that’s not even necessary. Our media are in a sad state.