The physical and mental strain of high-level public speaking and debates can be arduous, even debilitating. For seniors especially, constant levels of high stress can cause dangerous and lasting effects, including high blood pressure, weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and an increased risk for heart disease. If the Democrats want a healthy Joe Biden in 2021 and beyond, they would be wise to have him skip the debates and all the preparation they require.
While Biden has said “he can hardly wait” to take on Trump in the debates, I don’t think his team or his proxies will let him. Even before Kenosha, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Lockhart, and others were publicly urging their candidate to pull out of the debates, ostensibly because of Trump’s alleged incorrigible dishonesty. I expect that the drumbeat to withdraw will increase steadily over the next two weeks. The usual anti-Trump “bombshells” by the media (like those in the Atlantic and in Bob Woodward’s latest book) will provide the Democrats some cover, though dodging the debates will hurt them in some circles.
If Biden defies my prediction and proceeds with the debates — whether out of misplaced confidence or desperation — they are far more likely to be a disaster for him than a success. Although he and Trump are roughly the same age, right now they are worlds apart in terms of their mental and physical abilities. Moreover, Biden’s former, more moderate positions on law and order, patriotism, religious liberties, business, even pro-life issues — are at loggerheads with the progressive stances he’s been forced to adopt in the new Democratic Party.