Healthy News | What I know and don’t know about Biden and the debate  |

Though I’m reluctant to write about it for reasons that will become obvious, the political world is obsessed with one, and only one, story line. 

Here’s what I don’t know: I don’t know how President Biden’s mental and physical health will evolve over the next four years. I also don’t know how former President Trump’s health, or that of any other living creature, will progress over time.  

I do know that Biden, like Trump, and you, dear reader, won’t get any younger. But anyone who tells us they know how that will affect his ability to serve as president is simply making it up. 

I don’t know whether substituting a different Democratic candidate at this point will damage or enhance the prospects of defeating Trump. 

Since there is no clear process to get us from here to there, no historical experience on which to rely and since no one can predict exactly how such a maneuver would unfold, or how a substitute candidate would react under the unique pressures of a presidential campaign, anybody who says they know a different candidate will be stronger or weaker is also making it up. 

And since we cannot run a controlled experiment with one randomly selected group of our fellow citizens going through the next five months with Biden as the nominee and another group living in a world with another nominee, no one will ever know which candidate would prove stronger. 

The certainty with which people express opinions on this topic has zero correlation with their ability to predict a future they cannot possibly foresee. 

Here is what I think I know: 

A president’s ability to provide unscripted answers to journalists’ inquiries, whether in a debate or press conference, bears little relationship to the skills required to be an effective president.  

It is, for example, far more important for a president to be able to ask probing questions than it is for him to prove adept at answering reporters’ questions. 

No one has suggested that Biden has stopped asking the right questions. Quite the contrary.  

I think I know that while the president’s debate performance increased the number of voters with concerns about his mental health, the debate had no meaningful impact on the horse race.  

Seven pollsters produced surveys before and just after the debate (starting no earlier than June 28 and ending their interviewing no later than June 30).  

The best for Biden showed the margin moving 3 points in his direction, the worst, 4 points in Trump’s direction.  

On average, these seven surveys showed less than 1 point of movement toward Trump. 

Later polls suggest a larger movement of 2.8 points in Trump’s direction. 

Why the difference? 

Because when media focuses relentlessly on Biden’s performance, ignoring Trump’s by comparison, and when Democrats speak out directly, or through veiled quotes, expressing disaffection and dissatisfaction with Biden, it hurts.  

“If his own people are turning on him …” 

This is not voters watching the debate and drawing their own conclusions. Rather it’s others shaping public impressions.  

For the media, this is not some mechanical or ineluctable process, it results from conscious human decisions. Producers and editors decided that an aging and inarticulate Biden deserves vastly more attention than a dishonest Trump who is dangerously detached from reality.  

In fairness, few Republicans jumped to critique Trump, while Democrats were much more willing to provide media with the fodder needed to give the story legs. 

Democratic officials did not intend to hurt Biden, but the net effect of their actions did more damage to the president than he did to himself.  

I also think I know that this has as much to do with the fact that Biden isn’t winning than it has to do with the impact of his debate performance.  

As I’ve noted here, this race has been poised on the knife’s edge for a year or more. But in the past year Biden has been consistently behind, while four years ago it was also close but the president was consistently ahead of Trump nationally and in swing states. 

In short, it was not voters’ reaction to the debate that set off Democratic leaders, rather it was their perception of his failings, combined with the fact that the president was losing, and the debate was not turning it around as they’d hoped. 

The other key factor are the stakes, which with Trump atop the GOP ticket are immense. As in Paul Revere’s time “the fate of the nation” will be riding that November night.  

One last thing I think I know: There is much better than a 66 percent chance that Biden will be our nominee and undercutting him in any way helps Trump and his GOP sycophants. 

Some elected Democrats fantasize about replicating the famous meeting between Barry Goldwater et. al., and Richard Nixon. 

Here’s something I know for certain: The Goldwater delegation had leverage no Democrat has today. The Republican House and Senate leaders told President Nixon he was leaving office one way or the other. Either he could resign or they would vote to impeach, convict and remove him from office. 

Republicans could have saved the country considerable anguish by doing the same with Trump. History will judge them harshly for failing that test. 

Mellman is a pollster and president of The Mellman Group, a political consultancy. He is also president of Democratic Majority for Israel.

 President Biden’s mental and physical health, as well as his debate performance, are being scrutinized by the political world, but it is impossible to predict how his health will evolve or how a substitute candidate would fare in a presidential campaign. Opinion, Campaign, Columnists, Democratic officials, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, The media, The political world Your Ultimate Destination for Beauty Products, Viral News, and Trendy Videos

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