In an interview reported in the Washington Examiner, Pres. Trump calls attention the remarkable improvement in Joe Biden’s performance during his final debate with Bernie Sanders in the Democrat Party primaries. But Pres. Trump suspects something not-quite-right with the outcome and lobs a tactical nuke in the direction of the DNC and Biden Campaign.
Byron York writes:
Biden took part in 11 debates during the primary season. Most were against a crowded field of candidates, but the final debate, on March 15, was just Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. The president claimed to see a big difference between the last debate and those that came before.
“Nobody thought that he was even going to win,” Trump said. “Because his debate performances were so bad. Frankly, his best performance was against Bernie. We’re going to call for a drug test, by the way, because his best performance was against Bernie. It wasn’t that he was Winston Churchill because he wasn’t, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened. And we are going to call for a drug test because there’s no way — you can’t do that.”
York then pushes him on to offer more, and the President doesn’t disappoint:
“Is this like a prizefight, where beforehand you have a test?”
“Well, it is a prizefight,” Trump answered. “It’s no different from the gladiators, except we have to use our brain and our mouth….”
Trump based his call entirely on his own observations and not on any actual knowledge of Biden’s actions. “All I can tell you is that I’m pretty good at this stuff,” he said. “I look. I watched him in the debates with all of the different people. He was close to incompetent, if not incompetent, and against Bernie, he was normal … and I say, ‘How does that happen?'”
My first reaction to Pres. Trump’s comments in this interview was that it was an elite level trolling of the Democrats and the media. There has never before been a call for “drug testing” prior to a Presidential debate — who would ever dream of such a thing as a campaign tactic? I thought it was just “bait” dropped in the media stream to see which bloviating talking-heads on the left would bite and be triggered. Originally I wrote in this article “I can hardly wait to see the responses of DNCNNMSNBCTapperChuck later tonight.”
But then another thought crossed my mind. I remembered this story by my Red State colleague Streitt about the new campaign ad released yesterday by the Trump Campaign calling attention to Biden’s mental decline just since he was Vice President.
So you have that ad released yesterday, followed by Pres. Trump’s comments today about “drug testing” prior to the debates, and you have more convention speeches set for a few hours from now.
Among tonight’s speakers is Vice President Mike Pence. And the advance word is that VP Pence will play the traditional role of the VP nominee in going hard after the Presidential nominee of the opposing party.
I hate to link to CNN, so I’ll just quote from an article here:
But even though Pence doesn’t typically see himself as Trump’s attack dog, a Trump campaign official told CNN’s Jim Acosta the vice president knows he has a job to do, and to expect Pence to “take some lumber to Joe” Biden in the convention’s concluding speech on Wednesday night. “He does it with a smile on his face,” the official said.
By virtue of the above Ad, and Pres. Trump’s comments in the York article, there is no doubt that the Trump Campaign is going to hit Biden hard on the issue of his mental fitness for office. In “olden times” this might have been viewed as an “ungentlemanly” political tactic. But the “gutter politics” of the Democrat Party and the media over the past four years have pretty much relieved Pres. Trump of any obligation to abide by the “Marquis de Queensberry” rules when it comes to politics as a contact sport.
And the Democrats and media still cling to the fantasy that Donald Trump is not a smart guy, and he does not see the consequences of his decisions. Donald Trump has moved the Democrats and media around like marinonettes on strings for four years. Their repeated expressions of outrage over his norm defying behaviors only reinforce in his mind the fact that he was elected based on a promise to defy norms and “break” the institution of “Washington” of many of its worst habits. A guy who spent the better part of 40 years on the pages of New York tabloids likely could care less about what the WaPo or MSNBC has to say about him.
So, I’m less convinced that his “drug testing” comment is simply an effort to get a rise out of the Democrats or media. I suspect he might just play this out regardless of the outrage expressed by the opposition and their house media organs.
If you begin with the premise — and this only works if the premise is true — that Donald Trump does not take any presciption medications to deal with underlying medical conditions that aren’t known, and you are certain that a blood screen would produce no results showing any such medications in his system, a “demand” before the debates would put the Biden campaign in a bind. There are well-known prescription drugs used by early-stage dementia sufferers to slow the progress of the condition. If these drugs would show up in a blood screen, there is no way the Biden campaign could agree to a blood test and to publicly release the results if Biden was going to come up positive for any of those medications. The only way to avoid a positive test result would be for Biden to go off any such meds far enough in advance of the debates that they would not appear in the test results. That could have big implications for his debate performance.
At the same time, a refusal to match Trump’s release of blood chemistry test results would strongly suggest the Biden campaign is hiding something about Biden’s health.
This would all be part of a campaign gambit to force the Democrats to acknowledge that Biden is not up to the job, and that Pres. Trump’s actual opponent is Kamala Harris.
But how would such a tactic be received by the voting public? If there is a Pres. Trump landslide coming in November, I think the voting group who might lead the way with surprisingly strong results for President Trump would be “seniors.”
Voters over the age of 65 represent 24% of the electorate. Trump won that demographic over Clinton by 9%. Seniors represent the most reliable group of voters in the entire electorate when it comes to dependability in turning up at the polls.
The reason I think Biden’s condition will help Trump win that demographic by even more in November goes back to something my grandmother said to me nearly 40 years ago. She told me she voted against Ronald Reagan in 1984 — even though she had voted for him every time he was on the ballot nationally or in California before that — because, as she said, “He’s as old as I am, and I know I would never be up to serving as President the way I think and feel now. I’m not as sharp as I was in my 60s.”
More than anyone, senior citizens will recognize what Biden’s decline means. Many will have suffered through watching a similar decline in family members and friends. They will know it is not reversible, and worse days are ahead. That senior-citizen demographic is measured as 65 and older. Joe Biden will be 78 shortly after the election.
The Trump Campaign will make sure that seniors know this. Donald Trump just turned 74, but he’s ubiquitous on television now, and he’ll gladly invite the comparison between himself and Joe Biden.
This is a “life experience” issue with senior citizens — just like it was with my grandmother and Ronald Reagan, both of whom were 73 in 1984.
Senior citizens will see either themselves or reminders of friends when they see Joe Biden as he is portrayed by the Trump campaign, and that will make them sad.
It will also make them realize Joe Biden cannot be President.