More than a year after Donald Trump’s inauguration, former Vice President Joe Biden is still threatening to fight the President. When asked about Trump’s past controversial behavior and comments about women, Biden said that were the two men in high school, he would have taken Trump “behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” Never one to shrug off a taunt, the President has responded in kind by insisting, via Twitter, that he would be the one to defeat Biden. The brash talk is interesting because Joe Biden is apparently still toying with a 2020 presidential run, potentially pitting him directly against Donald Trump.
Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
Would the first Biden/Trump presidential debate devolve into fisticuffs? It seems slightly plausible. Despite both men being septuagenarians, a person 70-79 years old, it is plausible that a wide swath of Trump’s electorate would prefer to see a fistfight than a debate over fiscal policy. Biden may be trying to appeal to some of Trump’s base by adopting the tough-talking attitude of his rival. Indeed, many Democrats may try to adopt Trump’s unorthodox 2016 campaign strategies by eschewing politicking for outright trash-talking.
Donald Trump somehow won the Republican presidential nomination while using brash rhetoric, and then the general election itself, by taunting his opponents in a schoolyard like manner. If it worked for a political novice like Trump, why wouldn’t it work for an experienced Washington insider like Biden? Wouldn’t the public be invigorated to see Democrats show some fire and spirit rather than constantly bemoaning Republicans’ lack of professionalism? The answer resonating from Democrats across the country is no. It seems democrats can accept a celebrity candidate like Dwayne Johnson or Mark Cuban, however, they don’t seem to want someone who uses brash language and seems uninformed.
Perhaps the public wants to see blood, but Dems don’t want to take the bait. It is said that nobody wins by devolving to Trump’s level. While someone similar to Joe Biden might indeed defeat Trump in 2020, it won’t require amateurish behavior to do it. If Biden or a younger generation candidate does win by spending months trying to out-Trump the President on Twitter, it will set a terrible precedent for future candidates. Already, Donald Trump and his administration have eroded political discourse in this nation. When politicians who should know better start following suit, political discourse will become cemented in imbecility.
Joe Biden should take the high road. If you win by taking the low road, the 2024 Republican nominee will be encouraged to go even lower. Although it is tempting to give Donald Trump some of his own medicine, doing so will hurt Democrats’ self-respect. Taunts may feel good in the moment, but you’ll feel dirty the next day. Lest we forget, taking the low road gives your opponent the opportunity to take the high road. By going low, Democrats may suddenly find themselves being publicly criticized as bullying amateurs while Republicans play the grown-ups in the room. According to current polls and winning trends of recent candidates, Democrats seem to truly have a blue wave coming. So long as Democrats don’t fall into the trap of dropping to Trump’s level, they may have a real opportunity to regain power.
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