Debate Reality

President Biden and former President Trump are having two debates (CNN and ABC), both without live audiences. That, hopefully, will tap down the buffoonery and performance optics of the challenger. But don’t count on it.

Trump, even if snoozing or gas-passing, is adept at creating his own center stage and hogging the spotlight–especially when he knows there’s a TV audience in the multi-millions.

When preparation focuses on bumper-sticker memes, sophomoric insults and dog whistles to a cult-follower base, no one will think about Lincoln-Douglas or Kennedy-Nixon. Trump is still, alas, Trump.

One other point. Few viewers find debates determinative. Most discerning voters have already made up their minds. Most of the rest will see and hear what they want to see and hear.

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