BY PHILIP KOTLER
I know that Presidential debates have occurred in each past U.S. election. I know that Biden earlier said that he would accept debating with Trump. But I would advise Biden to not debate even if this is the first time this has happened. Biden is entitled to a first time, given that Trump for the first time never turned in his financial papers, given that Trump for the first time turned his back to all of our allies, given that Trump sent uninvited federal troops in military uniforms into states, and endless other Trump “firsts.”
What is the purpose of a debate? The aim is to let the nation know more about each candidate? Trump has already let the nation know 1000’s of things about him: that he is the best President ever, that he knows the right medicines to fight Covid-19, that he is a military genius. Trump gets the public’s attention every day. The fact that his inattention to Covid has killed 170,00 Americans; the fact that he wants the economy to revive before November regardless of the number of lives lost; the fact that he has incurred one of the highest hate levels toward him of any previous President.
As for Biden, we know Biden because he was Vice-President for eight years with Obama. Biden has currently spelled out all of his public positions on key issues. We can be sure that any faults that Trump finds in Biden will be broadcast nationally and internationally without end by Trump and his people.
There are four reasons why Biden shouldn’t debate Trump:
- Trump’s aim in the debate is to mock and destroy Biden as he has done to so many other people. Trump is a showman. His public rallies are designed to get his followers to hate all Democrats and suspect them of being anti-God, anti-family and favoring socialism and military weakness.
- Trump’s behavior during a debate will be unmanageable. Could the network force Trump to sit if he got up and prowled behind Biden like he did in the debate with Clinton? Here is a video. What would they do, try to reason with him on live TV? Tell him he was breaking the rules and plead for him to stop? Could they reduce his allocated time for every lie? Could they cut off his microphone after uttering more than 5 lies? Wouldn’t he just make up new ones, just for the debate, and catch the fact-checking moderators off guard?
Think of it in reverse: If the network did set up strict rules of etiquette and harsh consequences for violations, would Trump agree to the debate? We can easily guess what Trump would do. He would refuse and cry foul, make a mockery of everything, and win points with his core and perhaps some on the margins.
- Trump is incapable of reasoning and logical analysis. He lies about facts. He does little reading, including missing some of the White House morning briefings. He contradicts himself in the same day, as when he asked for a ban on mail-in voting but then says Florida can manage mail-in voting perfectly.
- Biden should propose a better way to help American voters decide who to favor. A board of distinguished Americans would put together a set of positioning questions. Biden and Trump will sit in a gameshow style airtight booth. A moderator will ask each question and the candidates will be given only two minutes to answer each question. Voters will have the information they need to choose the best Presidential candidate for 2020.
In this way, the American public receives all the information they need. There is no need to know who is the better showman!