What Are The Odds That Trump Shows Up To Debate Biden?

@dailykos
What Are The Odds That Trump Shows Up To Debate Biden?

Former President Donald Trump

The problem with right-wing propaganda is that they actually start believing their bullshit, such as “Joe Biden is suffering from cognitive decline.” In the case of the upcoming debate later this month, it led Donald Trump to make a disastrous strategic decision, and he has no good options moving forward.

Hence, it makes the most sense for him to pull out like the coward he is.

Biden is dealing with two major challenges at the moment:

  1. People aren’t tuned in, so Trump’s antics are lost on a significant percentage of potential voters. The more people pay attention, the better Biden does.
  2. Many people (17% according to one poll!) think that Biden is responsible for the loss of abortion rights, as he was president when it happened.

So what does the June 27 debate do? It gets people to tune in and start paying attention, much earlier than they otherwise would (essentially, the Republican convention in mid-July, and that’s on their terms).

And Biden can begin setting the record straight on abortion, as the question will come up, and Trump won’t be able to help bragging about how he was the reason we’ve lost those rights.

But there’s more.

We all know the first question Trump will get about his 34 felony convictions. Is that really how Trump wants to introduce himself to people tuning in to the race for the first time? All the rants about “lawfare” and “Biden’s DoJ” won’t inoculate him from the damage being a felon causes him.

Given the fact that Trump immediately accepted Biden’s “no studio audience” stipulation, there won’t be anyone to cheer Trump on. He needs his culty followers cheering his nonsense to fuel him on. And the moderators’ ability to cut off mics means that Trump can’t spend all evening yelling over Biden.

Remember, this wasn’t the Trump campaign’s idea. Trump was baited into making an impulsive, immediate decision to accept terms that the Biden campaign couldn’t have thought would be accepted. It truly was a boss alpha move by the president.

So the big question is this: What does Trump get out of this debate?

If conservative propaganda was reality based, and Biden shuffled onto the stage drooling on himself, that would be something. But it’s not. And whether Trump believes it or not, you know his campaign does. So what else is there?

Nothing. There is literally no upside for Trump.

And that’s why the Republican Party’s de facto leader, Sean Hannity, is laying the groundwork for backing out of the debates, saying, “There are some even saying that Donald Trump might be wise to just pass on the first debate, wait until he's nominated, then debate him."

That’s a nice way for Hannity to say, “Trump f’d up.” It certainly wasn’t wise to accept Biden’s debate terms. And if I had to guess, the “some” people that Hannity is talking about is every Republican campaign and elected official. Indeed, they have gotten a closer look at their nominee than anyone else, and it isn’t pretty. Just Thursday …

In exchange for their promises of fealty, Trump focused hard on important issues and policies. Like his anger over how Taylor Swift refused to endorse him and incomprehensible claims about Nancy Pelosi’s daughter.

Trump also reportedly ran through his recent campaign bit about fictional serial killer Hannibal Lector calling him a “nice guy who even had a friend over for dinner.” As with his shark vs. battery ramble, no one really knows what Trump is talking about, or why he’s so obsessed with this. He just is.

Republicans have to be terrified of any of that spewing out of Trump’s mouth at a debate. It would be impossible for even the political press to ignore Trump’s obvious cognitive decline at that point. Trump can get away with lying, it’s baked into the narrative. But being weird? That’s far more damaging.

For its part, the Biden campaign has been working hard to raise expectations, the exact opposite of the usual approach of lowering them. They know they have the upper hand in any debate.

So given all that, why would Trump debate?

If he drops out of the debate, he’ll get called a coward and liberals will laugh for a few days. Sure, that would suck.

But if he doesn’t? The real campaign will kick off weeks early, in a forum specifically designed to benefit Biden. He will immediately have to answer questions about being a convicted felon, and confirm his culpability in ending abortion rights. For several hours, he’ll have to answer questions from actual journalists, not friendly conservative pundits, without a crowd to give his performance energy. The odds of him saying something weird are 100%. And he and his pals have set the bar so low for Biden, that all he has to do is not drool on himself to exceed expectations.

Given the dangers of debating and any lack of upside, there’s no logical reason for Trump to debate beyond pride. And maybe that’s enough to force him to show up.

But there will be lots of people doing everything possible to convince him that wounded pride is the best possible outcome.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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