For background, see
“Biden’s Challenge: How do you campaign against a fascist liar?” The Trenchant Observer, August 29, 2020.
Should Biden debate Trump?
It would seem obvious that there is no point in debating a fascist liar. The whole point of any debate is to listen to opposing points of view in order to ascertain the truth. Why should a known LIAR (capital case) be given a platform to spread his lies further, and to try to gain an advantage over his opponent by some non-rational means?
Why should Biden fall for this trap?
The first problem is that Biden, like all politicians, has an ego, and he most probably believes he could beat Trump in a debate. In a debate based on reason, he undoubtedly could. But any debate with Trump will certainly not be based on reason.
Biden may think he can immediately refute Trump’s lies with reason and facts.
But any debate would be about propaganda and spectacle. Biden’s reasoned comments and answers could easily backfire on that battleground.
Trump is the more skilled master of TV spectacle. One might argue that Biden should avoid a duel of TV spectacle. In explaining his decision, he could set forth a short list of the biggest lies Trump has told and is telling. That could get him more viewers and future voters than any “mano a mano” (hand-to-hand combat) with Trump could ever produce.
Moreover, if Biden were to withdraw from the debates, Trump would undoubtedly attack him as a coward.
On the other hand, the debates offer Biden a chance to reach a huge audience which includes Trump supporters and those leaning toward Trump or simply “undecided”.
The Biden-Trump debates would afford viewers a chance to compare the two presidential candidates, side by side, and to reflect on which of the two men they want to lead the country.
There are strong arguments for and against the Biden-Trump debates. Biden has been making good decisions. On balance, we should defer to and support his decision.
The Trenchant Observer