History is repeating itself.
After a 2016 that saw the Democratic Presidential candidate fall down the stairs on multiple occasions, faint into a waiting campaign van, and suffer a host of curious tics on camera, presumptive nominee Joe Biden has invited much of the same criticism.
While Biden’s ailments are more cognitive than physical, the argument from the right has largely been a 2016 rehash: The left is proffering candidates that are ancient and feeble, and if you aren’t fit, you can’t be fit for office.
Of course, President Trump is not immune from the ravages of age, and now the mainstream media – which largely ignores the obvious issues with their own chosen candidate – is using the right’s argument on fitness against Trump himself.
The issues – which, compared to the Democratic candidate’s persistent struggles, seem more than a bit overblown – came up during Trump’s commencement address at Saturday’s West Point graduation ceremony: He descended a ramp slowly and used two hands to take a sip of water!
Trump is 74 years old. Anyone who has an elderly relative – or is elderly themselves – has probably seen or experienced this sort of thing before.
Exercising caution going down a ramp with the world watching is probably not a bad idea, particularly given the costly missteps – literally – that Hillary’s tumbles turned out to be during the last cycle.
That’s The Donald’s excuse, anyway.
Regardless, it’s not a good look in a realm where image is everything.
And with Trump already lagging behind Creepy Joe at the best Vegas election betting sites, this is simply more ammunition for the opposition in the leadup to November.
Whether it will stick is anyone’s guess, but the 2020 Presidential election could well come down to: “My geriatric candidate is less feeble than yours!”
The upcoming Presidential debates should be a better indicator of where Trump and Biden stand in relation to one another in the “cognitive decline” department.
And because those showdowns are yugely anticipated, you’re sure to get a number of Vegas debate props on just about every possible subject, question, answer, and behavior.
Of course, there is some question as to how many Trump vs. Biden debates there will be. Some pundits even argue that there may not be any debates at all.
Currently, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has an informal and nonbinding “limit” of three debates between main party challengers. Some Republican analysts, like Reince Priebus, want the Trump campaign to insist on six debates:
“I think the president is going to eat up Joe Biden in debates, and they should say, ‘We want six debates, not three debates in September and October,’ because of COVID and all the other restrictions.
“Have as many late game-changers as you can while the economy is healing and eventually the American people are going to see Donald Trump against sort of an incoherent, you know, Joe Biden that can’t put three things together in a row. And so the debates are going to make a big difference. My advice is blow up the three-debate commission limit. Double it and go for that at the end of the campaign. They should focus on that like a laser beam.”
The more airtime Trump can get debating Biden, the better for his campaign. This calculus is shared by the left, as well.
Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic governor of Virginia, insisted last weekend that Biden is “fine in the basement” and should stay out of sight and out of mind to “let Trump keep doing what Trump’s doing.”
Per Paul F. deLespinasse writing for the Albany Democrat-Herald, Biden should refuse to debate Trump entirely. The excuse deLespinasse uses, naturally, is the same one that the Biden campaign would use:
“Biden should refuse to debate Mr. Trump. It is impossible to debate someone who is willing to make up facts on the spur of the moment. The findings of fact-checkers would not be available to Biden during a debate.”
This would let Biden off the hook and give the media a field day defending the Democratic candidate for taking the supposed moral high ground. It wouldn’t be about the gaffe-machine shying away from public humiliation, it would be about a thoughtful leader not giving a “White House imposter” the time of day.
It’s a sound tactic.
Honestly, it’s surprising that the Vegas election odds available online haven’t yet included a prop for whether or not there will actually be any 2020 Presidential debates.
If we came across such a line, it’d certainly be a thinker.
Truth be told, with Biden currently leading Trump at most election betting sites, there seems very little to be gained for Biden to risk a televised debate with the President.
He’ll probably still sign on for one or two, because there’s a chance that swing voters would view his unwillingness to share the stage with Trump as a weakness unbecoming the potential leader of the free world.
Still, strategically, Biden should abstain. He should say it’s beneath him.
These are strange times, folks.
But at least you can bet on them.