Former Vice President Joe Biden said something ridiculous. Not that anyone finds it a surprise, these days, but it seemed as if he was setting up an “ah-ha” moment, as he warned supporters: “Mark my words I think [Trump] is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held … the only way [Trump] thinks he can possibly win.”
Was this just a fleeting thought that escaped Biden’s brain and inadvertently transformed into actual spoken words? Or did he parrot what his handlers are floating as a potential strategy: one that will allow the presumptive Democratic nominee to have the best built-in excuse to not appear with the president on the debate stage this fall?
It has been said it before, and it’s worth repeating: Biden will be toast in a face-to-face match up with the president on live television. And polls across the spectrum – both left to right-leaning – do not have a clear winner to date.
The statement was made during a scripted virtual fundraiser. Donors huddled together, listening to Biden prattle on about COVID-19 and the need to put a real leader behind the Resolute Desk.
Exploring the Strategy
Perhaps Team Biden is hoping for a delay, just to say, “I told you so.” Delaying the election will not help the Democratic candidate, whatsoever. But by drawing the line and predicting, through Biden’s magic 8-Ball, that Trump would sneak a delay, due to his fear of losing, skillfully opens up what might be a genius approach for Democrats to pursue. They are already pushing for a vote-by-mail general election to keep people from gathering, as they exercise the right to cast a ballot.
In the same vein of thought, perhaps they are hoping for a COVID-19 stifled debate series: holding the debates split-screen, each man in his own comfort zone. Mr. Biden could be ear-wigged and scripted. If those fail-safes did not stop the open mouth insert foot gaffe-machine, it would be oh so easy to cut the feed and claim “technical difficulties.”
For the president, a live debate will almost certainly be in his favor. Trump will push all the right buttons, goading the former vice president into a red-faced rant laced with terms such as “dog-faced-pony-soldier,” and my favorite, from an outright attack on an Iowa voter: “Hey Fat” followed by “you’re a damn liar.”
But no good political crapshoot is without risk. In Mr. Biden’s case, the adage “out of sight out of mind” might have folks forgetting Joe was even in the race, or flat-out demanding proof of life.
Maybe Mr. Biden is taking the underdog approach, casting himself as the “outsider.” No one likes the insiders, except the insiders, and that was a selling point for Trump in 2016. However, 40 years on the government dole may not help perpetuate the hero yet to be set loose in the nation.
There is another strategy to ponder: The party that touts women, people of color, and claims all-inclusiveness, is up against the man they believe to be the absolute antithesis of those ideals. Yet Mr. Biden is an old, rich, privileged, white guy, and they have anointed his candidacy. Are Democrats, then, of the mindset that Trump will steamroll through this election cycle and, therefore, don’t want the young, progressive bloodline defeated? Instead, sacrificing and effectively ridding the party of another, lingering, traditional liberal, and readying the laundry list of failed 2020 candidates to take the next contest in 2024 with progressives?
The Trump camp has denied any thought of trying to delay the election. It would not be in his best interest. And frankly, the Trump campaign may know something that, apparently, Joe does not: It would take an act of Congress to postpone an American presidential election.
Read more from Sarah Cowgill
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