Trump goes Kenny Rogers on the Presidential Election Commission

The second debate of Oct. 15 is officially called off. But what the press isn't emphasizing is that it was President Trump who put a stop to it, refusing to kowtow to the supposedly nonpartisan Presidential Debate Commission's demands for a virtual debate instead of a live one.

According to the New York Times:

The second presidential debate was formally canceled late Friday after President Trump refused to participate in a virtual event, the latest sign of the upheaval that the coronavirus has wrought on the 2020 campaign.

The Commission on Presidential Debates had tried to shift the debate to a remote format, given Mr. Trump’s illness and the uncertainty about his health, but the president soundly rejected the proposal and instead planned to resume his signature rallies, beginning on Monday in Florida.

Instead of the debate on Oct. 15 in Miami, the nation may instead be treated to dueling forums on rival networks.

Which is rather counter to the conventional wisdom. After all, hadn't most of the speculation been on Joe Biden being the candidate most likely to pull out of the debate, given that Trump tends to win these things? He sure as heck did with his first debate, rising several points in the polls, and his running mate, Mike Pence, did an encore as Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, disgusted voters with her endless smirking and refusal to answer questions. Trump, presumably, was the one who had the most to lose if Biden pulled out. Trump gains from debates. Biden hides in his basement to avoid losing them

So what an astonishing thing that it was Trump, not Biden, who pulled out of the debate, forcing the Presidential Debate Commission to shut it down. It had to have been a surprise to them.

They had gone so far to make things "safe" for Joe Biden by making the debate into a Zoom session that they figured Trump would have no choice but to go along. Instead, Trump was the one they needed to worry about -- he's the one who walked out.

Which calls to mind that Trump's a dealmaker, and a gambler. He knows how to walk away. It calls to mind Kenny Rogers' famous song:

"You've got to know when to hold 'em

Know when to fold 'em

Know when to walk away

Know when to run

You never count your money

When you're sittin' at the table

There'll be time enough for countin'

When the dealin's done"

What we have here is one sharp, canny player, someone whose fighting form remains intact as Biden flounders around, coddled by the moderators and press, and tossed by events.

It makes sense, as well. The bias of the debate commission has gotten pretty obvious, for one. Every decision they make is meant to benefit the Biden camp, not project fairness. Bob Dole noted Friday that the Republican contingent of the supposedly bipartisan commission were all Republicans who hated Trump, the "Never Trump" faction. 

The moderators picked all had significant biases and conflicts of interest. Chris Wallace asked Joe Biden softball questions, and interrupted President Trump every time he tried to lay out his position. It was so bad Trump was reduced to interrupting Biden (and Biden did likewise) simply because he couldn't get his position out otherwise. Susan Page avoided asking Kamala Harris any tough questions, too, about her corrupt prosecutorial record for one, or her anti-Catholic views. No questions about her financing of a rioter bailout fund, either, something that has led to rioters being let out of jail to riot again. But Pence got it between the eyes, forced to defend himself on the Breonna Taylor case, "systemic racism," and other issues dear to the far left. 

The last straw was the knowledge that Steve Scully, the supposedly impartial third moderator, was texting with Trump-hating former Trump associate Anthony Scaramucci about how to "handle" Trump, something that clumsily got out on Twitter, and which he has since offered no explanation other than an obviously phony claim to hacking. Scully had worked as an intern for Joe Biden, something that ought to have disqualified him from the start.

Trump looked at this and figured 'why bother?' It was going to be as rigged as the last two, and the Republicans would be forced to fight their way out of laid traps. The one way to get the message across that the process wasn't fair would be to walk out. And sure enough, Trump did, same as he did with Kim Jong Un a couple years back, and same as he has likely done with countless real estate deals. Deals are meant to be win-wins. When what was laid out was clearly a no-win situation, with no apologies, it was time to fold.

Surprise, surprise. It had to have shocked the business-as-usual-swamp crowd, figuring he was on the ropes and easy to knock over. They were jacking with someone a lot cannier than they thought. 

Image credit: Jun, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

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