My Renewed Suggestion

Former President and current Republican putative nominee for President Donald Trump has challenged Progressive-Democrat President Joe Biden to a rematch debate. Trump’s challenge flips the boxing world’s rematch challenge protocol on its head: usually it’s the match loser who challenges the winner to a rematch; this time it’s the debate winner who’s challenging the debate loser to a rematch. This time, too, a cage match: no holds barred.

Biden should take him up on the offer, and sooner would be better. It would be Biden’s chance to prove that his prior debate performance was a fluke. That sort of thing happens in boxing, too: see the Ingemar Johansson-Floyd Patterson series of matches, where Patterson sleepwalked into a Johansson right hand, and then won both rematches, almost in walkovers. So it could be with Biden, with an already scheduled (re)match in September.

The parallels are plain, too. Johanssen was a bit of a hedonist and trained accordingly. Trump doesn’t explicitly prepare for his debates; he relies on his experience as he trots around the countryside in his private jet, moving along to this or that campaign rally. Patterson, on the other hand, trained in monk-like ascetism and isolation. Biden trained in similar isolation, including a week in retreat preparing for his June debate.

Thus my renewed suggestion for Trump. If Biden declines the challenge for a nearby, wide open debate, then Trump should debate an empty chair, or maybe an empty barstool. This time, though, instead of the round arena of a cage match, do it in the round arena of a townhall. Two barstools in the center, one occupied by Trump—or not, as he gets up and strolls around the stage addressing all of the crowd—and one occupied by Biden, who won’t get off his stool, if he shows up at all.

Fact is, it wouldn’t be much different than the CNN debate last month, where Trump debated a nearly empty podium. And one more suggestion: don’t interrupt. Let Biden’s rambling answers speak for themselves, while Trump then demonstrates his own memory and acumen by picking apart Biden’s rambles point by point with facts and specific achievements in his rebuttals. The no interruptions bit would be the hard part, and the challenge, for Trump.

It’s a win-win proffer: Trump wins the rematch, or not, and us American voters win by observing empirically the quality of Biden’s performance.

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