“I’m more optimistic about the outlook for the US now than ever, and I really mean that,” said former Vice President Joe Biden to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, towards the end of their last segment during Thursday’s town hall event, which ran alongside one for President Trump, competing for viewers.
Biden made his remark in response to a question that led him to describe academic positions he would hope to take if his campaign should fail.
“We’ve got to heal this nation,” no matter whether he is president or Trump remains in office, concluded Biden, before answering that he was available to abide by virtual debate rules for a staged event the candidates missed since their first and only meeting at the end of September. Since Trump contracted COVID-19, he claimed he would be at a disadvantage because the moderator and his opponent could talk over him in an online format, an aggressive debate style he himself deployed last month in person.
Biden’s conclusion was that he works for both sides of the political spectrum, and he took questions that are top of Democrats’ minds (environmental policy and LGBTQ+ issues among them) from a diverse local population, including of political view points and voting preferences, in a sparse, socially distanced audience in downtown Philly.
Trump, meanwhile, at a campaign rally following his own town hall in Miami, said he could not imagine what he would do if he lost “to the worst candidate ever.” He hinted that he in fact plans to win, with his “whole life” dedicated to this mission, and if he failed, he would be listless, one might think he implied.
Over at the New Yorker, Susan Glasser said President Trump’s self-described perception that he is not a “nice guy” does little to boost his chances. In another interview, besides his NBC town hall event, speaking with Rush Limbaugh on the conservative host’s talk radio show, he also speculated, however, that he might fail to win the presidency.
Obama, running for his second term in 2012, set up a transition office in the White House — that is, a team to help transition to former Massachusetts Republican governor Mitt Romney if he lost to him in that election. There are few signs President Trump is disposed to make such a potential transition easier to his Democratic opponent this time, though he backed off initial statements saying he will indeed leave office, so long as his loss is from a legitimate election process, in his eyes, without voter fraud and other allegations he claims could help Democrats.
Now with next week seeing our second, and final, presidential debate Thursday, October 22, both candidates seem to be coming to terms with the fact that either may loose, maybe because polls show Biden leading, yet Trump can point to his work on the economy, manufacturing, and trade as emphasis for his incumbent advantage.
Still, Biden seems like a more mature choice now, leaving his policy responses from the town hall event aside (considered too wonky for some), because he can accept what will happen if he looses. But he can also speak in detail of how he worked in the past on issues that continue to matter to many Americans.
Trump, combative with moderator Savannah Guthrie (while she is credited by many with holding his feet to the fire), at this final campaign stretch, is coming across as more palatable for sound-bite friendly news consumers, maybe, but for those who care about issues and responsible leadership, Biden is proving his experience in public life is hard-earned and validates your vote for him. This in his capacity as a candidate to be relied upon to be responsible, at least.