“Trump’s Debate Dilemma: From Avoidance to Pursuit”

Experts offer tips on what to look for in presidential debate — Harvard Gazette

From avoiding debates to avidly seeking them: Trump’s strategic shift Trump, once dismissive of debates, now eagerly pursues them, convinced of his ability to outshine Biden. But his confidence may be misplaced.

‘Biden’s narrative needs shaping’: The uphill battle of economic outreach 07:04 Feb. 7, 2024, 11:16 PM IST By Zeeshan Aleem, MSNBC Opinion Writer/Editor Donald Trump, the former president, is pushing for debates with Joe Biden as soon as possible, stating, “I’d like to debate him now. … We should debate for the good of the country,” during an appearance on “The Dan Bongino Show” on Monday.

However, Trump’s motivations likely stem more from personal gain than altruism, with his sights set on besting Biden before Election Day. Yet, this strategy might not be as straightforward as Trump believes.

Trump appears eager to engage in debates as long as he perceives them to benefit him politically.

The idea that Trump’s interest in debating Biden is driven by civic duty is laughable. He actively undermined Republican debates before the presidential primaries, scheduling competing events and portraying himself as the presumptive nominee. Perhaps he feared the scrutiny of facing numerous challengers and preferred not to assist Republican voters in evaluating his competitors.

Yet, Trump now seems concerned about democracy’s well-being once again, expressing a desire for “10 debates” with Biden. In 2020, only three debates occurred before the general election (one canceled due to Trump’s Covid diagnosis). His eagerness for more debates, even before the primaries conclude, highlights his strategic approach; Trump seems willing to engage in as many debates as possible if they offer a political advantage.

‘A setback for Trump’: Presidential immunity appeal denied, opening doors to prosecution FEB. 7, 202410:18 Trump’s belief that debates offer him more to gain than Biden isn’t entirely unfounded. Despite their age, Trump appears more energetic than Biden. Additionally, Biden’s recent gaffes draw more attention compared to Trump’s, possibly due to concerns about Biden’s mental acuity and the contrasting appeal of his candidacy.

However, Trump might be overestimating the benefits of debating Biden. Firstly, if both secure their nominations, Biden could benefit from lower expectations if he performs adequately. Secondly, Biden has demonstrated an ability to surpass Trump in debates; instant polls from 2020 favored Biden’s performance.

Moreover, the familiarity with both candidates and the skepticism surrounding debates’ impact on voter attitudes suggest limited potential for significant revelations.

While a Trump-Biden debate this autumn would uphold democratic norms and contribute to the historical record, Trump’s expectation of a decisive victory seems misguided.

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