In a piece published at CNN this Monday, Chris Cillizza argues that Joe Biden has won his first debate against President Trump before the official debates have even begun.
As Cillizza points out, the Trump campaign is going all-in on the narrative that Biden is not mentally fit to be president, and they’re even looking forward debating the Democratic nominee, assuming that his lack of fitness will manifest itself for TV audiences. But it’s a strategy that could backfire, Cillizza contends.
“Having spent months attacking Biden as barely there mentally, he has drastically lowered the expectations for the former vice president when it comes to debate performance,” Cillizza writes.
“Think about it: The image of Biden pushed by Trump is a guy who is totally out of it,” Cillizza continues. “Who is being controlled by forces he is unaware of. Who can’t stand on his own two feet (figuratively speaking). If Biden simply sounds moderately credible and conversant in the debates, that image is going to be upended. And at least some people who bought the Trump idea that Biden isn’t up to the job will be forced to reckon with the fact that, well, the former VP is someone who appears to a) be able to put two sentences together and b) knows where he is.”
According to Cillizza, the low expectations will work in Biden’s favor since he’s not all that spectacular of the debater — which makes Trump’s attempts to portray Biden as utterly out of it all the more confounding strategically.
“If Biden walks away from this trio of general election debates as the perceived victor, he should send Trump a “thank you” note. Seriously.”
Read the full piece over at CNN.