Well, as things stand we will see President Biden and former President Trump square off in a live debate Thursday night.  Naturally news outlets have been playing the speculation game.  There is no shortage of punditry engaged in all this. In an ideal world pre-debate coverage would be about what issues matter most to voters, other issues that aren’t say in the top four or five but matters a great deal and where each candidate has stood on them. Of course we aren’t in an ideal world. Instead we have speculation on all manner of secondary stuff, and questions galore.  So let’s look at some of that.

The biggest question of course is whether Trump will show up Thursday. My belief is he’s frantically looking for an excuse to bail that will sell with his MAGAs.  In fact, here on Politzoom Ursula wrote an article earlier about what may well be an excuse Trump tries to use to get out of the whole thing. The problem is his having an excuse that will sell to his MAGAs.  He’s amped them up and they are ready to see him tear Biden a new one.  After all his “superman” talk I don’t think it’s a given he’ll easily get away was “it was rigged against me” argument.  MAGAs want to see Trump body slam Biden and stomp him into itty bitty Biden bits on the stage.  And Trump has to an extent indicated that’s what he was/will do.

MAGAs see Trump as greater than God.  Someone who will walk into a “hostile” environment and do like that gal in Game of Thrones and roast everyone around with dragon fire!  NOT showing up is a helluva risk for Trump, at least from where I sit.  Trump’s spent years promoting himself as the greatest ever. Invincible. Omnipotent. Whining that moderators won’t be “fair” doesn’t square with the image Trump has created in MAGA’s minds.  Add in it’s four months until the election and them having to see a stream of commentary and listen to co-workers and even folks in general in their communities mocking Trump for being chicken and enthusiasm is likely to waver.

Let’s face it. He’s NOT been out there several (at least) times a week at his signature rallies tossing gobs of fresh red meat to them. (He wouldn’t have been even if he hadn’t been on trial and getting convicted in Manhattan) Even the relatively few appearances have been a rehash of the same old stuff.  He doesn’t draw anything like the 2016 crowds, and it’s routine for people to start walking out long before he’s done with his schtick. Smaller venues that even then don’t get filled. People realizing it’s the same old stuff they’re hearing and walking out long before it’s over.

Whatever they tell pollsters, MAGAs are when we can see them showing they aren’t exactly captivated with that “old time religion” from Trump. So Trump needs to give his base an adrenaline shot to the heart. The problem is, he’s no match for Biden in a traditional one-on-one Presidential debate format – and the rules for this one are his worst nightmare.

There’s something else to consider which is that Trump simply isn’t prepared for this type of thing.  Not now, nor would he be if things were being done the normal way and debates would take place in the fall after the conventions.  Trump isn’t prepared and for the Trumpiest of reasons. He’s not willing to do two things. Trump won’t sit down and actually learn some basic stuff on some major issues. And then practice responses that are short and to the point that make him sound knowledgeable and credible. AND, more importantly he’s not willing to practice by having mock debates against an opponent who will be critical of him. Attack him even. His ego simply can’t handle that type of thing.

Way back in the 2016 campaign I think he got a dose of that from Chris Christie and it was way more than he could take.  Trump is as you know notoriously thin skinned and I suspect Christie is the only person with the guts to treat Trump in debate prep like any candidate needs to get treated.  Think about it. Who on Team Trump has the guts to really go after him in debate prep? And even if someone did, just on one issue that would be it for Trump. He’d shut the whole thing down.  Start avoiding debate prep which we are informed he did in 2016 and also I’m sure in 2020. According to Newsweek Trump is more than a little reluctant to engage in the kind of preparation for debates candidates normally wish they had MORE time for.  The article (worth your time) cites former Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci:

Donald Trump “hates” preparing for debates, his former White House communications director has said.

Speaking on the podcast The Rest Is Politics U.S., Anthony Scaramucci, now a vocal Trump critic, said the former president used to remove debate preparation time from his schedule.

Trump wants no part of standing there for an hour and a half with President Biden.  He knows he made a mistake in accepting both the challenge from Biden, and agreeing to the rules that have been established. If there was a graceful, or at least plausible (to MAGAs at least) way of getting out of things Trump would have axed Thursday’s debate already. At this point his last best hope is some external event.  A natural disaster maybe. Some world crisis perhaps. Putin or Netanyahu, or “Lil Kim” pulling some stunt that forces the President to stay in DC and deal with things.

I can’t shake the thought that, all joking aside Trump is terrified.  Just about the only thing in his life he’s been good at is marketing himself.  That however is damned tough to do when locked in a contest with someone vying for the same thing, who also knows a thing or two about marketing but also so much more.  The last thing the inferior person wants is to be in a real-time side-by-side comparison.  That’s why way back in 2019 when most people had written Biden off Joe Biden was the one candidate Trump feared more than any other.  Hell, I’ll bet Trump was scared of Biden back in 2015 when he first chose to toss his hat in the Presidential ring.

And he’s scared to death of President Biden now.

Compared to Biden Trump is a kid with too short arms learning to play a trombone facing off playing the National Anthem compared to the legendary John Phillip Sousa directing the Marine Band. No contest.  Also, Trump knows deep down his antics of the GOP primary debates doesn’t work in a one-on-one Presidential debate.  He got away with it some with Hillary. If just once when he was stalking around behind her she’d whipped around and called him out she’d have won going away. A comment like Donald, do you think YOU intimidate me? I’ve faced down plenty who were far more powerful and tougher than YOU would have hurt him worse than her kicking him in the balls. But keep in mind that first Biden debate in 2020. The absolute shIt-show Trump put on.  Even he knew how badly it played.

Not that Trump isn’t/won’t be tempted to try it again. But with his mic turned off when it’s not  his turn to speak he’ll look/sound even worse!  I think as the “all over the place” pre-debate spin from Team Trump indicates Trump is flailing.  Reading Ursula’s article two words kept popping into my head – Trial Balloon. Deep inside Trump knows his own platform Truth Social doesn’t reach all that many of his MAGAs. However, how this plays out on other platforms in the next day or so will be interesting. Trump knows his people DO use those. But so do other people and if twitter and FB algorithms allow criticism, as in a steady drumbeat of Trump is afraid to debate stuff then he’s screwed.  He has to show up.  Unless some external event forces cancellation.

I have no idea at this point so I won’t bet dollar one either way.  It should be an interesting week for sure.

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  1. This will go the way of him INSISTING he was going to testify at his trial. He didn’t. He then lied to say he was prevented from testifying. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. He or one of his sycophants will announce a lie to keep him from showing up, and then he’ll claim it was Biden’s fault. That’s my bet.

    • Thanks. I’m on the mend but made the mistake before of trying to do too much too soon. Still, today I decided to devote some hours to writing. Glad to see at least one person thinks what I came up with was okay.

    • That weird dude Fred Trump paid off isn’t around anymore but I’m sure Ronny Jackson will be happy to hold up x-rays of Trump’s heels. With bone spurs crudely drawn in by Trump using a white Sharpie!

  2. It doesn’t matter what excuse dfg comes up with for skipping the debate. magaland will forgive him and believe him and all will be back to the normal magat sh!tshow. They don’t care if he shows up. Yes, they’d love to see him tear President Biden into pieces on the debate stage (not likely!) but they will believe anything he says and forgive him for any wrong. That’s who they are. A cult.


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