Opinion: The Debate, Mere Preview, or Premonition?

Remember how you felt when The Former Guy’s jet departed Washington airspace early on the day of President Biden’s inauguration? Putting aside the sore-loser disrespect to tradition, it was a wonderful moment. “Happy days are here again!” we naively thought. “We never have to hear from him again.”

If only! As the past four long years have shown, he never really went away. His lies and legal misadventures have dominated our media and taken up residence in our heads. He continues to disrupt and upend reality. Not even his multiple convictions for sexual assault, falsified business records and massive fines have damaged his campaign or deterred his legions of fans and enablers.

And yet, according to 538, the polls are tied!

Now, the 2024 presidential campaign’s first debate, hosted by CNN, between the ex- and current president is upon us and, once again, we are holding our collective breath. Will we get “Scrappy Joe” or presidential Joe? Will Trump finish a coherent sentence or will he dissolve into mendacious word salads, bluster or threats? How will fact checking keep up? What issues, if any, will be discussed and will we be any the wiser for the exchange? And does it really matter? 

Writing in the New York Times, Frank Luntz, the Republican communications strategist and pollster, predicts that the winner of the debate will not be the master of facts and figures, but will be the one who can deliver the “one memorable phrase” that speaks to voters’ concerns and fears. In other words, “how he makes them feel.” (Paging Maya Angelou!)

For her part, Hillary Clinton, who has debated both men, says we should listen to how the candidates “talk about people.” Mr. Biden, she notes, is “one of the most empathetic leaders we’ve ever had … He talks about women’s rights, the struggles of working families, opportunities for people of color and the courage of Ukrainian men and women risking their lives for democracy. Mr. Trump can’t do that because he cares only about himself.”

Again, how does that make you feel? 

This is no ordinary debate. It’s high stakes all the way — for CNN and its reporter-moderators, the candidates, the country and the world. Watch it not as a spectacle it undoubtedly will be, but as a preview of our future. 

Or as a premonition.

The debate is scheduled to take place 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Thursday, June 27, on CNN, CNN.com, CNN International, CNN en Español and the streaming platform Max. It will also be simulcast on Fox News, ABC, NBC and C-SPAN. 



4 comments on “Opinion: The Debate, Mere Preview, or Premonition?”

  • TK says:

    The author of this article sure is suffering from TDS. What about the fact that Joe Biden showered with his teenage daughter, sniffs children and touches women on their breasts. Is that what Georgetowners call presidential. That is not to mention what a disaster Joe Biden’s administration has been, driving up inflation to record levels, allowing millions of people enter the US illegally and allowing crime to skyrockets not just in big cities but throughout the country. It will be interesting to see what meds they will have pumped into Joe so that he can actually stand for a 90 minute debate without farting or crapping into his depends. As you may all recall, Prince Charles and Camilla got the first hand experience of Joe breaking air in their presence during a cocktail party that he attended with them.

    A second Biden term will be the end of a USA as we have known it so far.

  • Tim says:

    Tonight we all saw that Joe Biden is not capable of completing a sentence and certainly not fit to be President for another term. His mental capacity is clearly beyond repair. Joe has got to go.

  • Donald Duck says:

    Spot on TK! A week of preparation and the bumbling, mumbling Joe showed up. Trump is the one who cares about people, how many of the illegal alien victims families has slow Joe called to apologize for leaving the border wide open? I could go on and on. What will they do about Joe now? The people voted and he is the Democrat Candidate!

  • Travis Price says:

    Biden has been lost for some time and now is gone! He has destroyed our economy with utter nonsense. At last, it is clear that even CNN immediately stated that Biden and his VP do-nothing are gone. Now we can get our economy and our protection back rapidly!

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