May 18, 2024

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No presidential debate in 2024?

No presidential debate in 2024?

(New York) Since 1976, every US presidential election has been preceded by at least two televised debates between the major candidates. Over time, the media — and voters — have come to believe that these meetings are part of an unchanging tradition. However, in 2024, they will lose it.

why The reasons are many. Let's start with the most obvious: Donald Trump. The former president has already demonstrated that non-compliance with ethics extends to debates. He refused to participate in the third face-to-face in 2020, under the pretext that it was virtual (he had tested positive for Covid-19). And he avoided all debate during the 2024 Republican primaries.

Of course, Donald Trump is repeatedly saying these days that he's open to debating with Joe Biden “anytime, anywhere.” Let's forget that this can't be done during the long hours he has to spend in a courtroom in New York where his case is being tried over Stormy Daniels.

The truth is that not everything Donald Trump says is gospel. Susan Drucker, a political scientist at Hofstra University on Long Island and an expert on presidential debates, compares the former president's statements about debates to those he made before or during his trial.

He always says: “I want to testify, don't stop me.” But he's waiting for his lawyers to say, “Don't be stupid, don't testify.”

Susan Drucker is a political scientist at Hofstra University

The Republican National Committee is another obstacle. In 2022, the body that governs the Grand Old Party decided to no longer participate in commission-organized debates in the presidential debates after reprimanding one of the moderators, Chris Wallace.

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No matter: The commission has already announced it will hold three presidential debates in 2024. The first is scheduled for September 16 in Texas, the second for September 1R October in Virginia and the third on October 9 in Utah.

Joe Biden has his own reservations. Asked about his participation in the presidential debates, he replied, referring to Donald Trump: “It depends on his behavior. »

A “sick person”

During the first presidential debate of 2020, the president no doubt forgot the experience of his opponent interrupting him, so he shouted in an excited tone: “Are you going to shut up? »

But Joe Biden's reservations may run deeper. Because Donald Trump isn't just rude. He is the subject of four criminal cases, two of which are related to his efforts to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election, and in the eyes of Joe Biden, he is not only a threat to democracy, but an affront to humanity. A terribly sick person,” he told those around him about the former president).

How could he want to argue with someone like that?

Donald Trump being on the same stage is a way of legitimizing or normalizing the abnormal. But I think Trump would be more reluctant to participate in a debate than Biden.

Susan Drucker is a political scientist at Hofstra University

Because Biden values ​​standards too much, according to her. And he is undoubtedly aware that voters still have doubts about his cognitive abilities (“He can't [participer à des débats] Because he can't talk,” Donald Trump recently said).

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However, David Frum, a conservative anti-Trump commentator, advises Joe Biden to say no to presidential debates pitting him against a man he sees as incendiary.

“Many institutions of American life have habits and motivations that treat Trump's attempted coup as ordinary politics,” David Frum wrote in the Journal last week. Atlantic. “Television and other mass media have worse habits and motivations than most of these institutions. But President Biden doesn't have to sink into it. »

David Frum wrote his column after the publication of a letter signed by 12 media outlets urging Joe Biden and Donald Trump to participate in the 2024 presidential debates.

“If there's one thing Americans can agree on in this divisive time, it's that the stakes in this election are exceptionally high,” said networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox. “In this context, there is no alternative for the candidates to debate among themselves and before the American people their vision for the future of our nation. »

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