After the debate, it is clear that Trump should withdraw from the race

President Joe Biden had a disastrous debate last week that was like Christmas morning for pundits and panicked Democrats alike.

During the first half hour in particular, the president’s gruff voice (barely audible at times) and almost mummy-like appearance on screen were overshadowed by the words of former President Donald Trump. a stream of lies from a machine gun.

The former president received unintended aid, if we’re being generous, from veteran CNN anchors “moderating” the debate, who have developed a grave allergy to fact-checking, even the most basic nonsense (like Trump claiming he had nothing to do with the deadly riots of Jan. 6, 2021). Jake Tapper and Dana Bash also ignored Project 2025which outlines in detail the plan for authoritarianism if Trump wins a second term and even rejected ask about his 34 felony convictions as if it was rude.

The point in his favor is that Biden did it hammer Trump over his criminal record, and he even dropped the bombshell that he “had sex with a porn star… while his wife was pregnant” — which clearly stunned Trump, who then of course lied that he hadn’t.

Not paying attention to the blatant and constant lies is simply journalistic negligence, especially when we have all had nine years to cover Trump. We all know his mo and there is no excuse for allowing a candidate to bluff during a job interview to become the leader of the free world.

Journalists, talking heads, and politicians watch the debates very differently than normal people. While seasoned professionals cringed at every misspoken word and Biden’s ghostly profile under the TV lights, it seems undecided voters and soft-core voters were less excited and irritated.

But predictably, the story of the night wasn’t a pure stream of Trump-on-topic nonsense criminality, taxes, immigrants, abortion and more. Naturally, it was the pundits who criticized Biden’s destitute performance and heckled them, confirming their earlier jokes about his age.

The truth is that most of them never liked Biden in the first place. There was always his usual vulgar elitism that he wasn’t an Ivy League product (see how they roll their eyes every time he brings up his tough hometown of Scranton), but lately there’s been naked frustration that his hard-working administration has failed to produce relentless leaks and juicy scandals that made its short-tempered, clumsy predecessor that much more entertaining (for them).

The disintegration of the chattering classes was quickly followed by a complete meltdown that Democratic strategists almost threatened to commit seppuku on live TV.

CNN organized a debate without facts. The losers are US voters

Please note that Demonias are always in a state of bedwetting. I remember Democratic officials lamenting that Barack Obama had become overconfident in Michigan and kept tranquil about it in 2008 (the year he won the state by 16 points). So the fact that a presidential candidate screwed up the debate causes their collective bladders to hit Defcon 1.

The melodrama reached its logical peak at the New York Times newsroom – whose stars and editors were furious that Biden had ignored them – calling the president to end his “irresponsible risks” on the campaign.

“There are Democratic leaders better prepared to present clear, compelling and vigorous alternatives to a second Trump presidency. … It is too much of a leap to simply hope that Americans will overlook or dismiss Mr. Biden’s age and frailty, which they see with their own eyes,” the editorial intoned.

Then quickly, analysts started second-guessing themselves, backing anyone but Kamala Harris — the nation’s first black, Asian-American vice president — with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Illinois Gov. J.B. Prtizker and, yes, Michigan’s governor. Gretchen Whitmer leads in informal poll.

I don’t understand why anyone who claims to have any experience in politics thinks sidelining Harris and risking alienating African-American women — a pillar of the Democratic Party — is a clever move.

Either way, here’s your reality check from a mostly retired expert. Yes, Biden did terrible, awful, bad, very bad debate.

This would be much more concerning if he consistently put in destitute performances like he did on Thursday night (and no, not in heavily edited clips circulating in right-wing media). But the president didn’t and in fact delivered barn flame Friday’s speech in North Carolina, prompting many of us to ask: Where was that? This guy at the debate?

Biden also led the world strongest economyexceeding all post-pandemic expectations, he helped maintain international alliances to support Ukraine during Russia’s barbaric invasion, pushed the largest climate bill in history through Congress, repealed a series of Trump’s executive orders targeting immigrants and LGBTQ+ people, and much more.

That’s quite a feat for an senior guy – and yes, his decades of experience are the main reason he’s managed to do so much.

So will the debate matter? Nobody knows.

Pennsylvania Responds: Gov. Shapiro Defends Biden After ‘Bad Debate’

Journalists, talking heads and politicians watch debates completely differently than normal people. While seasoned professionals flinched at every misspelled word and Biden’s ghostly profile under the glare of television lights, undecided voters and soft-spoken partisans appear to have been less excited and irritated. Yes, preliminary sounding shows greater concern about the president’s age and mental fitness, although he still trails him in some polls.

It’s true that Monday morning commentary on established and social media ultimately shapes the narratives of the debates. Even if you initially thought Biden seemed a little senior, but OK, you might start to feel differently after watching Democrats panic on cable news or watching a constant stream of TikToks swearing he has dementia.

We won’t know for a while what the actual effects will be – although it should be noted that Twitter (yes, it will always be Twitter) is designed to blow up every single thing, like the a turning point in campaigns — when most of them fade away within a few days.

Will Biden step down?

This seems highly unlikely. He just won the post-debate fundraiser $27 million (his last question about the fundraiser takes a shot “conceited podcasters”).


It seems to me that this is a huge risk that could lead to another tumultuous Democratic National Convention in Chicago, full of disruptions from left-wing activists, and ultimately irreversible division of the party and donors sitting on their hands.

Now there is a valid argument that a younger candidate could make a more compelling case against Trump and overtake him in the polls. Most analysts, however, seem fixated on the tantalizing prospect of a much more intriguing race to chatter about for the next four months.

The truth is that most pundits don’t just want to be listened to. They really think they should be in charge. The ability to push the president out of the race is probably the most power they can wield. So the drumbeat against Biden from a disproportionately white, wealthy, and male media—which a second Trump regime will likely have far less influence over than most—will continue to be rapidly generated, even though they probably should touch the grass.

The best way to describe the current race is with a shrug emoji. Yes, it’s deeply unsatisfying — especially when too many of us naively look to polls and pundits to predict the future — but that’s where we are.

But here’s what I know. It’s patently absurd that major newspapers and politicians are calling for Biden to drop out of the race when they never said “boo” to Trump decided he ran again less than two years after attempting and discovering a coup d’état responsible for rape and defamation writer E. Jean Carroll, after him ordered to pay $454 million in a civil fraud case or after he was found guilty of nearly three dozen crimes in a bribery case related to the 2016 election.

That anything like that is less disqualifying than looking senior and ill during a single debate is the greatest example of pundit intelligence I’ve ever seen.

There is only one man who should clearly withdraw from the race. Anyone who tells you it’s not Donald Trump is trying to sell you something.

Michigan’s Progress is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) charitable organization. Michigan Advance maintains editorial independence. For questions, contact editor Susan J. Demas: [email protected]. Follow Michigan Advance on Facebook AND X.

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