For François Vergniolle de Chantal, a specialist on the United States, the cancellation of the debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump on October 15 is totally in his favor
- Risk of coronavirus contamination requires, the debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the second in the presidential campaign, was canceled this Friday.
- While the first debate had given birth to a cacophony criticized by all and without a real winner, who is the winner of this cancellation?
- According to François Vergniolle de Chantal, professor at the University of Paris and specialist on the United States, Donald Trump is emerging very clearly.
The war of the American debate will not take place. After multiple procrastination and controversy, the independent committee responsible for organizing the debates between the two presidential candidates decided on Friday to cancel the second debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, scheduled for Thursday, October 15.
After proposing that the debate take place in a virtual meeting following the coronavirus infection of Donald Trump - a proposal categorically refused by the US president - the committee therefore opted for cancellation, because it could not meet sufficient sanitary conditions. For François Vergniolle de Chantal, professor at the University of Paris and specialist in the United States, one candidate nevertheless has much to be much more satisfied than the other.
Is there a candidate who wins by canceling this debate?
Yes, one of the candidates is clearly doing well with this decision. If we start from the postulate that the debate remains the traditional democratic process to convince the voters in a rational and well-argued way, from this point of view, this cancellation benefits the candidate with the most to lose in this kind of formats, that is - i.e. Donald Trump.
If there is no forum for dialogue between the two candidates, which this debate would have allowed, the campaign is not going to end. She will move on social networks and other means of communication where there is no more dialogue but peremptory statements and rumors, which favors Donald Trump. And what remains his preferred format for speaking to his constituents.
However, he who wanted to act as if his coronavirus infection was mild still sees the debate being canceled for that. Isn't that a disavowal in this argument?
This is valid reasoning if Donald Trump were to convince all voters. However, the American president speaks only to his troops, and they need little to be convinced. One could almost speak of a fan club, as most of its voters have an incredible enthusiasm for their hero and president, and do not care about the usual formats of debates. Therefore, seeing Trump indirectly responsible for the cancellation is not an admission of weakness in their eyes.
The President knows full well that for his constituents he had much more to lose than to gain by participating in a virtual debate, which is why he strongly opposed it. He would have been dispossessed of his pikes directly face to face, his little sentences, his abrupt gestures and his interruptions. The debate is largely secondary to him, there is no shame on his side to see it canceled.
Does this cancellation not risk putting the coronavirus back at the center of the presidential campaign? However, Donald Trump's management of the pandemic is far from unanimous ...
Make no mistake, the coronavirus is already at the center of the presidential campaign and crushes all other issues, it is almost only for that. Basically, this campaign has two main themes: the Covid-19 and the personality of Donald Trump. Everything else, the Black Lives Matter movement, Medicare and even the candidacy of Joe Biden appear very dull and little media in the face of these two "issues". With or without debate, the coronavirus would certainly have been one of the media juggernauts of this end of the campaign.
Finally, while the president’s record on the epidemic is extremely criticized by many Americans, it is mostly praised by his constituents. And once again, it is only them that he is addressing. So it doesn't matter what the rest of Americans think about the coronavirus or the cancellation of this debate.