NYT op-ed suggests "scrapping" the 2020 presidential debates

by Bryan Brammer · Aug 3rd, 2020 4:21 pm

Last Updated Aug 6th, 2020 at 10:47 am

The New York Times published an op-ed on Monday titled "Let's Scrap the Debates," contending they have "never made sense as a test for presidential leadership."

Journalist Elizabeth Drew, the author of the piece, said she is not concerned whether Joe Biden loses the debates against Trump. She believes Biden has already demonstrated his acumen to lead the country and sees any sort of debate an exercise in futility.

"The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership," Drew writes. "In fact, one could argue that they reward precisely the opposite of what we want in a president. When we were serious about the presidency, we wanted intelligence, thoughtfulness, knowledge, empathy and, to be sure, likability. It should also go without saying, dignity."

Drew added that she did not write out of "any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates," arguing that debates have become canned lines rather than an exercise in presidential actions.

"Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests," Drew said.
The point is that 'winning' a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves."

Drew is not the only one arguing Biden should not debate Trump.

New York Times writer Thomas Friedman wrote in July that Biden should refrain from debating Trump without real-time fact-checking, while former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart advised Biden last week to refrain from debates, saying, "Whatever you do, don't debate Trump."


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