The prospect of a debate between President Biden and former President Trump has stirred concerns among Democratic lawmakers.
While Trump has expressed eagerness for a debate, Democrats are hesitant, fearing that such a matchup would elevate Trump and legitimize him even more as a candidate.
Trump’s call for Biden debates sparks Democratic concerns
Former President Trump, despite skipping Republican primary debates, has indicated his desire to debate President Biden. He has even suggested the possibility of ten debates.
Democratic lawmakers express reservations about the idea of a Biden-Trump debate.
They recall Trump’s past debates, where he made outrageous statements.
Democrats concerned about Trump’s impact in potential debate
Privately, Democrats hope that Trump’s legal issues and controversial remarks will turn off key voter demographics.
One of their concerns is Biden’s age (81) and the fact that Trump, at 77, would be four years younger if they were to debate again.
Some Democrats fear that even if Trump exceeds low expectations on the debate stage, it could benefit him politically, as seen in past elections.
Democrats concerned about legitimizing Trump through debate
A significant worry among Democrats is that a debate with Trump would legitimize a candidate who continues to claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
Trump’s recent statement about immigrants “poisoning the blood of our country” was particularly concerning to Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
Some Democrats argue that Trump should not even appear on the ballot, citing potential violations of the 14th Amendment due to his involvement in the January 6 insurrection.
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Democratic Senators leave debate decision to Biden’s campaign
Democratic senators acknowledge that the decision to debate Trump ultimately rests with Biden and his campaign.
Some, like Senator Chris Coons, emphasize Trump’s past behavior in debates and his refusal to debate his primary opponents.
Coons argues that there may be no reason to dignify Trump as a candidate with a debate.
Differing views among Democrats on debating Trump
However, not all Democrats agree. Longtime Democratic strategist James Carville argues that not debating Trump could have negative consequences and that there are expectations for presidential candidates to engage in debates.
Strategists note that Biden might have more incentive to debate Trump if he trailed in the polls closer to Election Day, although some recent polls have shown Trump leading among registered voters.
While there are risks associated with debating Trump, some Democrats see it as an opportunity for Biden to discuss his record, including economic achievements.
Debating Trump: Democrats weigh uncertainties, potential consequences
However, they acknowledge the unpredictable nature of debating Trump, who does not always adhere to conventional rules.
The idea of a Biden-Trump debate has generated mixed views among Democratic lawmakers, with concerns about legitimizing Trump and uncertainties about the potential outcomes and consequences of such a matchup.
The decision ultimately lies with President Biden and his campaign team.