The debate

The long term effect of the debate may be small, but the race is at best a tie, and I just don’t see how Biden can turn it around.  I’m not saying he should drop out or that his candidacy is doomed.  He still may be the Dems best bet.  Maybe the outcry about his performance will blow over, the case against Trump will become clearer, and wandering Democrats will return to the fold.  But Biden was not making much progress in the run up to the debate.  The case for dropping out certainly got stronger, and the likelihood of a Trump win increased.

I have long been worried about Biden’s lack of a communication strategy.  It has seemed that his team didn’t trust him in front of a microphone, or that he didn’t trust himself. 

I guess they figured that his presidency would sell itself.  This was not as crazy as it sounds.  The effect of presidential speechmaking is ordinarily limited because of partisanship and the general difficulties of political persuasion.  But here Biden’s poor communication reinforced the public’s key concern about his fitness for office.

Biden had lots of opportunities to nail Trump and he whiffed.  It’s not clear if he was poorly prepped, or just was unable to execute his debate strategy.  He has never been a disciplined speaker.  And Trump is difficult to debate.  It’s like debating an anti-vaxxer.  You need to stay on message and ignore the endless stream of lies.  That’s hard to do when you’re 35 and don’t have a stutter.

My sense is that Biden has always been overly complacent about his electoral prospects.  Sometimes that’s fine.  But sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train.  I hope he and his team and his family take the current situation seriously.  What exactly is the plan for turning this around?  If they cannot answer that question, stepping aside should at least be on the table.