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Tags: cnn | friedman | cook | walter

2020 Could Hinge on Debates, If They're Held

the institution that is the political debate

(Eugeniu Frimu/Dreamstime)

Michael Dorstewitz By Thursday, 09 July 2020 02:53 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

While President Trump’s ratings have been slipping lately, his supporters have been taking comfort in the belief that Joe Biden’s alleged cognitive decline will be on full display during the upcoming debates between the two candidates.

And if Trumpians are looking forward to the debates, there’s every reason to believe that Democrats are dreading them — they’re even admitting it.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman confirmed Tuesday that "I worry about Joe Biden debating Donald Trump."

But what if there are no debates?

Friedman continued that "Biden Should Not Debate Trump Unless" at least two conditions are met.

"First, Biden should declare that he will take part in a debate only if Trump releases his tax returns for 2016 through 2018," he wrote.

There’s no statutory or constitutional requirement that candidates release their tax returns as a condition to either run for office or to debate. And Trump didn’t release his returns during his 2016 run. There’s no reason to require it now.

But the other suggested proviso is the one that’s really problematic.

"And second, Biden should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates — and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered," Friedman wrote. "That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled."

Real-time fact-checkers? Really?

Everyone should recall what happened when then-President Barack Obama claimed during an October 2012 CNN presidential debate that he referred to the Benghazi attack as “an act of terror” on the day after the incident at a Rose Garden speech.

GOP challenger Mitt Romney rightfully jumped on that claim.

"You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror, it was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?” he asked. “I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror."

Then-CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, who served as debate moderator, fact-checked the claim in favor of Obama.

"He did, in fact, sir," she told Romney. "So let me call it an act of terror . . . "

She was dead wrong -- and Romney was right. But what viewers rook away from the debate was Romney being corrected and playing fast and loose with the facts.

So what’s really behind Friedman’s two suggested provisions? The Media Research Center’s Tim Graham had an idea. He reasoned that The New York Times is simply making excuses for Biden to be a no-show at the presidential debates.

If the president refuses to play by Biden’s rules (which would be likely), Biden should take his ball and go home — or in this case, remain in his basement.

On the very issue of debates, an odd coincidence happened late last month. The University of Michigan bowed out of hosting the second presidential debate because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The planned debate, scheduled for Oct. 15, will now be held in Miami, which is more affected by the virus than Ann Arbor, Mich. A last-minute cancellation because of the pandemic would be more conceivable in Florida’s Miami-Dade County than in Michigan’s Washtenaw County.

That suggests that maybe the change in venue wasn’t so coincidental after all.

The Cook Political Report updated it’s 2020 electoral college projections Wednesday to predict a Democratic rout.

"This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a blue wave," said Amy Walter, Cook’s national editor.

Tumpians may take some solace in Cook’s projection four years ago, however.

It predicted a Hillary Clinton victory with her winning Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Although Trump took those three states, he did it by the thinnest of margins.

"In talking with strategists on both sides this last week, it’s also clear that Trump is dragging Republican congressional candidates with him as well," Walter added.

Although she called it as looking "like a Democratic tsunami," she still had Biden winning it with 279 electoral votes — only nine more than the required 270.

In 2016 Trump took home 304 electoral votes in an election that everyone "knew" was in the hip pocket of Clinton’s pants-suit.

But this time it may come down to the debates — and whether or not they’re even held.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.

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In 2016 Trump took home 304 electoral votes in an election that everyone "knew" was in the hip pocket of Clinton’s pants-suit.
cnn, friedman, cook, walter
Thursday, 09 July 2020 02:53 PM
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