Even the most casual observer of the current presidential campaign has witnessed that there is something that just doesn’t seem right with Joe Biden. Thanks to social media, there is a veritable highlight reel of numerous Biden gaffes, including him not knowing where he is on the campaign trail, misquoting statistics about the coronavirus pandemic, not being able to quote the Declaration of Independence accurately and claiming that someone other than Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
Trump supporters gleefully claim that the President would eat Biden’s lunch should there be a debate, and there’s no guarantee that one will occur this evening – someone, be it Biden himself or a campaign staffer close to him, could suddenly be stricken with the coronavirus and scuttle the event. But should the debate occur, the expectations for Joe Biden’s performance are so low that all he may have to do is show up and be somewhat lucid for the media to declare him fit to serve as President.
Lucidity could be a tall order for the Biden campaign. It does not take someone with a medical degree who has been watching Biden give speeches, grant interviews, and otherwise speak spontaneously to observe that he is apparently experiencing some kind of cognitive decline that could be advancing.
Any form of dementia is no laughing matter. Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body dementia, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s Disease dementia and others are all horrible conditions with which to contend both for the afflicted and their caregivers. We all know of relatives or relatives of friends who have had to live with a dementia diagnosis. To say it is unpleasant is a vast understatement.
Which brings us to Joe Biden on a live national stage. He has had numerous days where the campaign called it quits for him early in the day. Are they prepping him for the debate, or could it be a case of the Democrat nominee “not having a good day?” as people suffering from cognitive issues frequently experience?
The debate is scheduled to take place at 9:00 PM in Cleveland. Nighttime can be a tough time for people who suffer from dementia. Unfortunately, some dementia sufferers experience sundowning at night. It is a condition that causes anxiety, confusion, and aggression among other physical symptoms like pacing. This debate has the potential to reveal a quite deeper look at Joe Biden’s suitability to be President beyond his policy proposals and stance on issues.
Conversely, President Trump, much like his 2016 campaign, has been the Energizer Bunny on the trail with events scheduled this week in Minnesota, Florida, and Wisconsin in addition to the debate in Ohio. However, despite the list of the President’s accomplishments and bold policies for him to detail, with such low expectations for the former Vice President and aided by the echo chamber that is the mainstream media, even a seemingly mild coherent debate performance by Biden could gain him much ground in this race.
How will President Trump react onstage should Biden start to ramble nonsensically? Is he capable of showing some empathy for the veteran swamp dweller, which might score him some points with those voters who have issues with the tone of his tweeting? Should he let a potential Biden breakdown speak for itself in front of a national audience, or should he seize the moment to underscore his own vitality for the office, which would please those voters who already support him? Expectations have never been lower for a Democrat presidential nominee, but the stakes could be even higher for President Trump.
Andrew Mangione is Senior Vice President for AMAC’s advocacy affiliate, AMAC Action. He leads AMAC’s grassroots efforts, represents AMAC’s membership in Washington, D.C., and helps chart the association’s policy course. He also serves as a national spokesperson.