Trying to get a free pass.

Source: Richard Moorhead

The New York Times published an op-ed dismissing the value of presidential debates on Monday, claiming that the electoral tradition has become little more than “unrevealing quip contests” that resemble professional wrestling for the uneducated rubes.

The op-ed is probably the most prominent attempt to undermine the plans for the events, with author Elizabeth Drew arguing the debates lack substance. She claims that the American public is blissfully unaware that well-known presidential debate moments are meaningless, pointing to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 “there you go again” debate admonition to Jimmy Carter.

Some Democrats have quietly worried about Biden’s prospects in the three contests, and the article may be the most public call to find the candidate a way out of appearing on a debate stage with Donald Trump.

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Biden’s plain tendency to become forgetful and exhibit mental gaffes has become a concern, especially considering that some within the Biden campaign have noticed his cognitive issues tend to be most potent in the evenings in which the three debates are currently scheduled in.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the three contests are currently slated to be held without a live audience, precluding any attempts on the part of organizers to stack the university halls in which they’ll be held with a crowd of Biden supporters who hoot and cheer at any remark made by the Democrat. A similar audience format had worked in great effect in the 2012 presidential election, with a progressive crowd serving as in-house fans for Barack Obama in a debate moderated by Candy Crowley.

Biden has agreed to participate in the three traditional debate contests of the presidential election, although he had dismissed an offer from the Trump campaign to conduct even more debates before election, with the latter pointing to reduced campaign presence due to the coronavirus epidemic.

It remains to be seen if the Democratic nominee will abide by his debate commitment.