Mike Pence went into last night’s debate with the last minute hope that he could somehow make the Trump regime’s policies sound somewhat practical to anyone outside of his boss’ base. Not only did he come off as somewhere between a desperate salesman and an insincere toady to Donald Trump, he managed to paint the administration and its objectives in an even more ominous light than Trump does, all while being condescending to both Kamala Harris and the debate moderator.
Trump’s last shot of turning this around would be arguably next week’s debate – even though his chances of having a good one would be very, very slim even if he hadn’t contracted an infectious, deadly disease, since much fewer people watch the second and third debates even in a normal election cycle. Unfortunately, next week’s debate got canceled since Donald Trump refused to accept the changeover to a virtual format which he derided as a waste of time. The irony here is that a virtual debate might have worked better in Trump’s favor for a few reasons – and he could’ve claimed the moral high ground of not wanting to spread and infect others with COVID and he could always accuse the moderator of trying to silence him if his mic got cut when he spoke out of turn.
Had the in-person town hall happened, it would mean interacting with voters one-on-one who ask the questions, a format that tends to work in Joe Biden’s favor. It’s also a bit harder to attack your opponent in such a format, which is what Trump was coached to do in the first debate, and screaming and playing victim tend to be big turn-offs to voters. Not only did Trump bail on the second debate, he’s holding a rally, putting more of his staff and supporters at dangerous risk, if they’re even willing to let him pull it off in a week. This is all coming at a time when people are speculating on whether the vice president is also infected – the optics couldn’t possibly be worse for him. In light of the debate, Joe Biden will be hosting a town hall in Philadelphia on ABC.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making