Here are a few predictions for the proposed series of Trump-Biden debates this fall. They will be the most watched debates in history, topping even the 84 million record set by Trump’s first encounter with Clinton in 2016. Each man will interrupt the other more than 80 times. There will be a lot of name calling. Biden will say that Trump is a liar who could bluff the blizzard off a chuck wagon, whose brains if they were made of dynamite wouldn’t be enough to blow his nose. Trump will insist Biden’s energy is the lowest energy in the history of energies, since our people started recording them, and everyone knows it. Politifact’s website will crash. The Washington Post list of Trump’s “false or misleading statements” will quadruple after 15 minutes. There will be at least one exchange in which the moderator says “Gentlemen!” and “Mr. President, Mr. Vice President [sic]!” after the two men argue over who would win in a fist fight.
A hundred million of us will all be glad it happened. Why? Not because it clarifies anything or helps us to make an informed decision about whether Trump or Biden is more qualified to hold the office of the presidency, but because this kind of shallow People magazine-level engagement with facts and issues is what American politics became long ago. Trump was simply the first to understand this and capitalize on it. There is no reason to think that he will be the only person to win the White House by running like he’s trying to beat the other contestants on a reality TV game show.