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COLUMN: Biden can pull off a win in the debates — but only if voters fail to pay close attention

OPINION: State Representative Vernon Jones says this debate won’t be Biden’s first rodeo. “He has more experience debating in front of a national audience than any other candidate who competed in this election cycle…and he can pull off a win in the debates — but only if voters fail to pay close attention.”

The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.

By: State Representative Vernon Jones.  Jones is a Democratic politician from Georgia. Jones was chief executive officer of Dekalb County, Georgia, from 2001 until 2009, and in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1993 to 2001. Jones was elected to the Georgia House in 2016.

What you think of Joe Biden’s debate performance will depend on how closely you’re paying attention. Biden is hoping for a passive audience that won’t notice when he misdirects or substitutes bland platitudes for substantive answers.

This isn’t Biden’s first rodeo. He has more experience debating in front of a national audience than any other candidate who competed in this election cycle, starting with his failed candidacy in 1988. Biden held his own during his first presidential primary debate, only to be driven out of the race a few months later by the first major plagiarism scandal of his career.

Biden went back to Delaware to lick his wounds, and spent a good part of the next two decades paving the way for China’s ascendancy by helping the communist regime achieve normalized trade relations with the rest of the world.

When he returned to presidential politics in 2008, Biden competed in a debate-heavy primary contest. Despite missing several of the debates, he still amassed a great deal of experience debating in front of a national audience. While his performance wasn’t enough to put him over the top, he did well enough to earn inclusion on the Democratic ticket as Barack Obama’s running mate, giving him the opportunity to further hone his debating skills during both the 2008 and 2012 general election campaigns.

Biden put that practice to good use, receiving general acclaim for his performance against Paul Ryan in the 2012 vice presidential debate, during which he demonstrated his proficiency with the folksy, “aww, shucks” debating style that many politicians resort to as a means of sidestepping discussions of concrete policy issues.

Despite taking the last election cycle off, Biden won’t be rusty when he meets President Trump on the debate stage, having had plenty of time to sharpen his skills during the 2020 Democratic primary debates. Although he didn’t exactly shine in any of those appearances, he made it through the wringer without sustaining any mortal blows, which is more than can be said of many of the other candidates. He even unveiled a new debating strategy — a variation of the Uncle Leo excuse for shoplifting from Seinfeld — by claiming that he was simply “confused” by the question when he raised his hand to indicate that he would provide taxpayer-funded healthcare to illegal aliens.

There’s no way Donald Trump will let him get away with that one, of course, but it demonstrates the lengths to which Biden is willing to go to weasel his way out of an uncomfortable position. When he takes the stage opposite the President, Biden will do whatever it takes to make himself look and sound like a “moderate” despite the fact that he’s running on the most far-left platform of any major party presidential candidate in American history.

Biden will try to portray himself as a working class hero, even though he plans to raise taxes on 82 percent of all Americans and demolish industries, such as fracking, that support millions of well-paying blue collar jobs. Biden will also furrow his brow and talk about how concerned he is about Americans’ access to healthcare, even though his plan would double down on the failed Obamacare experiment and force American citizens to finance health coverage for illegal aliens. He’ll also pretend that he opposes the rioters and looters who have been ransacking America’s cities, even though he spent most of the summer ignoring their lawlessness and describing them as “peaceful protesters.”

It’s all designed to sound perfectly innocuous — but it only works on people who aren’t paying close enough attention. Presidential debates aren’t a sitcom or a reality show; they require active participation on the part of voters. We all have a responsibility to listen closely to what Biden actually says and not let him get away with deflections and deceptions.

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