I debated with Trump and Biden, and this is what we can expect

I debated with Trump and Biden, and this is what we can expect
I debated with Trump and Biden, and this is what we can expect

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NEW YORK.- Last week I had one of the best moments of my life delivering the tony awards, where I had the opportunity to present a song by Suffs, the Broadway musical I co-produced about the suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote. And I was even more excited when Suffs took home the awards for best screenplay and best original soundtrack.

Whether it’s Suffs or whether it’s Hamilton, I always loved theater that talks about politics. But not the other way around. Too often we approach pivotal moments, like this week’s debate between President Biden and Donald Trump, as if we were theater critics. But now we are about to elect president, not “best actor.”

I am the only person who has had to debate with both: with Trump in 2016, and with then-Senator Biden in 2008, during the Democratic primaries for the presidential election. I lived firsthand the crushing pressure What it means to get on that stage, and I know that when Trump participates it is practically impossible to focus on what is essential.

Hilary Clinton during the recent Tony Awards in New YorkCharles Sykes – Invision

In our three debates in 2016, His barrage of insults, interruptions and lies overwhelmed the moderators and harmed the voters, who were in front of the screen to learn about our vision for the future of the country. And let’s not forget that the first of these debates set a record, with an audience of 84 million viewers.

Trying to refute Trump’s arguments as in a normal debate is a waste of time, simply because it is virtually impossible to identify what those arguments are. And in the years since then, everything has gotten much worse. I was not at all surprised that after a recent meeting, several CEOs said that Trump, as one journalist described him, “fails to sustain a line of reasoning” and “jumps from here to there.”

However, so little is expected of him for this Thursday that unless catches fire literally in front of the cameras, some will say that he lived up to the presidential inauguration.

One of the three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, leading up to the 2016 elections Archive

Maybe Trump rambles and rants to avoid having to respond directly to his most unpopular positions, such as restrictions on the right to abortion, tax breaks for mega-millionaires, or auctioning off our planet in exchange for campaign contributions from big oil companies. He interrupts and harasses—at one point he even chased me around the stage—because he wants to appear dominant and unbalance his opponent.

Those ruses will fail if President Biden is as direct and forceful as he was in March, when he confronted Republican hecklers during his State of the Union address. The president is also assisted by facts and truth. Led the United States’ recovery from a historic health and economic crisis, creating more than 15 million jobs, increasing incomes for working families, slowing inflation, and skyrocketing investments in clean energy. and advanced industry. Biden will win the debate if he manages to get that message to the people.

For the 2016 debates I prepared intensely because I had to find a way to overcome Trump’s antics and help the American people understand what was really at stake. In 90-minute mock debates on a scenario identical to the one that was to be used, I practiced staying calm in the face of tricky questions and outright lies about my background and character. In those rehearsals, Trump was played by one of my advisors, who did everything he could to provoke me, make me nervous, and get on my nerves. And it worked.

Hillary Clinton this year launched a mug with a curious legend in the midst of a judicial conviction of Donald Trump, with the legend: “In the end she was right about everything.”AFP/ Capture

Unfortunately, Biden starts at a disadvantage, because he cannot dedicate as much time to preparing as I did eight years ago. Being president is not a 9 to 5 job: you have to be in everything and at the same time at the same time. That’s why the incumbent president’s performance in the first debate is historically weaker than that of his opponent. As spectators, we should try not to get caught up in the theatrics and focus on three important things.

First, pay attention to how candidates talk about people, not just their policies. In my third debate with Trump, he promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. I replied that this would have real consequences for real women. Trump had already said that Justice should punish women who have abortions. “You should meet with some of the women I’ve met,” I replied. “I have been in countries where governments forced women to have abortions, as used to happen in China, or to have children, as they did in Romania. And I can tell you that The government does not have to interfere with the decisions that women make with their families, “according to your faith and with medical advice.”

Trump will most likely say in the debate that he wants to leave abortion up to individual states, hoping it will sound like a sign of moderation. But in reality that implies that he supports the most extreme abortion bans already imposed by many states, in addition to all the extreme restrictions to come.

Trump, Obama, the Clinton couple, united at the funeral of former President George HW Bush, in the Washington Cathedral (Archive)Reuters

Trump should be held accountable for the 12-year-old Mississippi girl who was raped and then forced to carry her pregnancy to term. That girl entered seventh grade with a newborn in her arms, due to Mississippi’s draconian abortion ban. It is because of Trump that a girl from Louisiana who could not have an abortion arrived at the delivery room clinging to her teddy bear. Studies reveal that Women living under abortion bans are up to three times more likely to die during pregnancy, childbirth or the postpartum period. Because of Trump, one in three women of reproductive age today lives with these restrictions.

Biden is one of the most empathetic leaders we have ever had. Just listen to how sincerely talks about women’s rights, real working class problems, opportunities for people of color and the bravery of Ukrainian men and women who risk their lives for democracy. Trump can’t do the same because he only cares about himself.

Second, try to see beyond the bluster and focus on the fundamental things at stake. In 2016, Trump refused to say whether he would accept the election result. “I prefer to keep them in suspense,” Trump said. “Democracy doesn’t work like that,” I responded. “Be clear in what he is saying and what it means.” There is a straight line between that 2016 exchange and the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The savage takeover of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 (Archive)John Minchillo – AP

This time, we can expect Trump to blame Biden for inflation, but avoid answering questions about your own plans for the economy. He is forced to deviate or lie, because his proposals—tax cuts for the super-rich, gutting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), deporting millions of workers, and imposing blanket import tariffs on basic goods—would exacerbate the inflation, would increase household spending and lead to a recession. And that prediction is not mine, but rather that of the Wall Street consulting firm Moody’s Analytics.

Experts at the independent Peterson Institute for International Economics estimated that Trump’s tariffs alone would mean an actual tax increase of $1,700 annually or more for the average American family.

For his part, Biden will clearly be eager to talk about his plans to lower prices. The president has taken on lobbying from powerful pharmaceutical companies, capping the price of insulin and passing a law that for the first time allows Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. During Thursday’s debate, let’s pay attention to his plans to confront the abusive price increases of corporations and make gas, food and housing more accessible.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden during a presidential debate in the 2020 campaign (Archive)

With federal student loans, Biden has already helped one in ten Americans get much-needed relief. You will most likely come up with new ideas to help young people get off on the right foot and be able to access a middle class standard of living.

Third, when you see these two men side by side, think about the real choice that this choice entails: between chaos and fitness.

Trump has been found guilty of 34 serious criminal offenses and responsible for sexual assault and fraud. He is a man who his entire life has put himself first. If he returns to the White House, there will be more inflation and less freedom. It will not be just a repeat of his first term. Since he lost in 2020, Trump has become more irascible and unhinged. His former defense secretary says he is “a threat to democracy,” and his former chief of staff says Trump “He has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution and the rule of law.” This Thursday let’s remember that when we listen to his string of complaints and his promises of revenge.

On the contrary, Biden is a wise and decent man who fights tooth and nail for working people. Yes, he is 81 years old. He is just three years older than Trump. And thanks to his experience and his life of public service, he can do things that strengthen our country and improve the lives of everyone, from reaching a consensus with Democrats and Republicans to maintain ruined roads and bridges to confronting Russian aggression.

This election is between a criminal convicted by Justice who seeks revenge and a president who delivers results for the people of the United States. Whatever happens in the debate, that choice is easy.

Translation of Jaime Arrambide

The New York Times

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