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The Media Won’t Let Biden Lose the Debate Against Trump

Image Credit: White House Flickr, Freepik.com

It is unlikely that Joe Biden will melt down completely on the debate stage with President Trump, and that’s enough for the mainstream media to declare him the winner regardless of what the two candidates actually say.

While the Democrat nominee has had his fair share of gaffes and stumbles on the campaign trail in recent weeks, Trump supporters should not be lulled into a false sense of security. It would be a mistake to underestimate his ability to parry attacks and deflect criticism in a debate setting. He’s done this before – and  a lot.

During almost every primary debate, the other Democrat candidates ganged up on Biden, expecting a diminished opponent, desperate to slash his front-runner standing in the polls and to neutralize the advantages conferred by his decades as a Washington insider. Most of them were younger and all of them were sharper and more articulate than the erstwhile Biden. But as we all know today, these attempts to take down the former vice president failed miserably. Even in a one on one with the wily and cantankerous socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, Biden more than held his own.

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By falling back on the training afforded by his extensive experience in presidential debates, Biden managed to keep his rivals from drawing blood, delivering debate performances that kept him alive in the grueling contest long enough to win by attrition.

Senator Kamala Harris — who recently became Biden’s running mate — launched arguably the most effective attacks against the former vice president, calling him out on issues like busing and immigration.

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“[I]t was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators [Sens. John Eastland and Herman Talmadge] who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country,” she told Biden during a debate last year, challenging him to admit that he was “wrong to oppose busing in America.”

In several debates, his opponents also questioned whether Biden was progressive enough for the Democrat Party, suggesting that the Obama administration should have gone further to the left on various social and economic issues.

Despite his opponents efforts, there were no knockout blows to his campaign. I don’t expect one in the coming debate either. But, even if President Trump lands one, the left leaning media (meaning just about the entire media) would make every effort to conceal or explain it.

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We’ll never know if Biden could not have made it all the way through the Democrat primaries without help from the media referees, and he has gotten a lot of help. Time and time again, the liberal media shielded Biden from attacks, occasionally giving him a pass on some of his worst performances. More importantly, the media refused to probe Biden’s increasingly radical policy proposals, and failed to question his endless flip-flops on issues ranging from trade to criminal justice to border security.

Their failure to challenge Biden has only accelerated since he locked up the nomination. In fact, the liberal press has been treating Biden like a precious flower during interviews and press conferences, and I use the term “press conferences” reluctantly. During a recent CNN town hall event that ran for around 75 minutes, for instance, Biden only had to answer one difficult question from a Republican voter.

Don’t expect anything to change when Biden debates President Trump. If anything, the mainstream media will be even more determined to help Biden whether or not he needs it.

Bottom line, don’t let Biden’s PDI’s (public displays of incompetence) trick you into thinking that he’ll inevitably have a meltdown when he debates President Trump. He’s been resting up – he certainly hasn’t been campaigning or facing reporters. Given his experience, the Democrat nominee reflexively knows how to blunt attacks on the debate stage, and his allies in the media will be sure to spin or downplay whatever missteps he may make.

meet the author

Andy Puzder was chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants for more than 16 years, following a career as an attorney. He was nominated by President Trump to serve as U.S. labor secretary. In 2011, Puzder co-authored "Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn't Understand It." His latest book is "The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left's Plot to Stop It" (Center Street, April 24, 2018).

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