Democrats dodge debates in Arizona and Pennsylvania

If the overall mood of the nation is any indication, it appears that the GOP could win back both the House and the Senate during the midterms.

Joe Biden's catastrophic presidency and the Democrats' support for issues that stand against both popular and national interests are the primary causes of this anti-Democrat wave.

Despite the likelihood of facing defeat, the Democrats have put on a defiant display.

They seldom concede any of their mistakes; in fact, they run in the opposite direction and demonize and dehumanize their political opponents and their supporters as extremists who are a threat to democracy.

Biden's hateful, unhinged speech last week is ample proof of that.

The Democrat propagandists are now claiming there is "growing evidence against a Republican wave" and that Democrats are showing momentum coming out of special elections

If this were true and they think they stand for the right issues, the Democrats should have been eager to debate their GOP opponents to demolish them on live TV and seal the deal with voters.

However, that isn't happening.

Last week, The Federalist's Shawn Fleetwood reported that some Democrat candidates in key U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races are dodging debates with their Republican opponents.

Pennsylvania's Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate, John Fetterman, announced that he wouldn't be participating in a televised debate scheduled for Sept. 6 against his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.  He cited his ongoing recovery from a stroke as the reason.

Since his stroke in May, Fetterman has made fewer campaign appearances.  When he did appear, he engaged in incoherent ramblings.

Dr. Oz's team released a list of concessions for the debate to accommodate Fetterman.  These included offers to "'pay for any additional medical personnel' that Fetterman might need on standby" and "bathroom breaks and allowing him to have all of his notes on hand, along with an earpiece to obtain answers from his staff."

But instead of being thankful for Oz's accommodations, Fetterman attempted to characterize it as a mockery of his suffering and recovery.

Fetterman hasn't committed to appear in any of the five moderated debates proposed by Oz earlier this month.

Pennsylvania isn't the only state where Democrat candidates are unwilling to debate their Republican opponents.

Arizona's Democrat candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, Katie Hobbs and Mark Kelly, were avoiding debates with their respective GOP opponents, Kari Lake and Blake Masters.  They cited misgivings about the existing debate format as their excuse.

Lake has said she'd debate Hobbs at any time and place, even offering to let her Democrat opponent write the questions.

She even posted a debate challenge on Twitter:

Debate organizers gave Hobbs and Kelly a deadline of last Friday to accept or decline the invitation to the October debate:

Democrat Katie Hobbs declined a televised debate with Republican Kari Lake as both seek the Arizona governor's office, instead proposing individual interviews with the moderator.

However, Senator Mark Kelly had a change of heart and consented to a debate with Blake Masters.

So are these debates that important, and do they focus on the issues?

Not always.

At times, it is about appearance.

For the Kennedy-Nixon 1960 general election debate, all those who heard that debate on the radio thought Nixon won, while 70 million who watched it on TV thought Kennedy won. 

This is because Nixon refused to wear makeup and tended to sweat under the bright television lights and even appeared awkward and uncomfortable on camera.  Kennedy had his own team do his makeup just before the cameras went live.  He also had movie star charisma and confidence before the camera.  The debate was hence unfair because the audiences were unknowingly judging candidates not by the content of their answers, but by their physical appearance.

At times, there are inane moments that are exploited by the media.

During the 1988 United States vice presidential debate, in response to GOP candidate Senator Dan Quayle mentioning the name of President John F. Kennedy, Democrat candidate Senator Lloyd Bentsen responded, "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy.  I knew Jack Kennedy.  Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine.  Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."  Quayle didn't have much of a comeback to that.

The liberal media attempted to portray this as the end of the Bush-Quayle ticket.

But that didn't happen.  The Bush-Quayle ticket defeated Dukakis-Bentsen in the presidential election by a margin of 8% of the popular vote and an electoral landslide, with the Democrats winning only ten states.  Yet the moment is still referred to by experts while discussing debates and is abhorred by candidates.

Back in 2016, Donald Trump used the debates effectively to triumph over his GOP opponents during the primaries.  Trump used what noted cartoonist and author Scott Adams referred to as the linguistic kill shot, where he highlighted the weakness of the target by branding him with a terse and unique combination of catchy words that are also funny.

Jeb Bush, who was the front-runner in the GOP primary, played the part of the calm and level-headed leader, who could be counted upon, especially during a crisis.  Trump branded him "low energy," and suddenly the focus shifted to Jeb's droopy shoulders and vacant expressions.

The "low energy" perception prevailed during the debates as Jeb looked helpless when confronted by Trump about being a puppet in the hands of big political donors and lobbyists. 

Trump branded Hillary Clinton as "crooked" as he exposed her as inept, corrupt, and a total failure.

This is why debates are still important.

Beyond the focus on appearance, the amateur theatrics, and the insults, a debate presents voters with the opportunity to see their representatives in a high-pressure situation.

We are living in times where every campaign event is micromanaged, and every syllable is subjected to a meticulous multistage vetting process by consultants, experts, and pollsters. 

It is hence necessary to have live debates to see some extemporaneous moments from candidates.  They don't have teleprompters or notes or consultants to talk to.  There are (hopefully) no earpieces, and the questions are (hopefully) not known in advance.  In the end, the person behind the persona is exposed.

So how should Dr. Oz and Kari Lake react?

They should immediately release advertisements highlighting their respective opponents' refusal to debate, accompanied by messages such as "if they cannot stand up to me in a debate, how can they stand up for you in the Senate or as governor."  This is an opportunity for Oz and Lake to portray their opponents as rats running scared from the battlefield.

Nobody votes for the scared and the weak.

Photo credit: Twitter video screen grab (cropped).

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