One thing is abundantly clear this election cycle: many democratic candidates are refusing to engage in formal debates with their republican counterparts. I don’t know if it’s a top-down strategy engineered by the Party Brain Trust, or whether it’s an individual decision by certain candidates, but it is a reality. And it’s not hard to understand their reasoning; there is nothing positive on which democrats can run; no major accomplishments to which democrats can point, either at the national level, or even in statewide races. So, they’ve become hyper-focused on secondary issues, such as climate change and abortion which are not keeping most Americans awake at night. The top three issues about which Americans care most are rising crime, the economy and border security.
Across the country, democrats are either refusing to debate or they’re trying to run out the clock to Nov. 8. It’s not hard to see why. Runaway inflation, rising fuel prices and a southern border more porous than the Green Bay Packers’ run defense is leading many political pundits to predict a bloodbath for the democrats in next month’s midterms.
Joe Biden is a drag on the party. His fumbling and muddling through press conferences and his non-answers to serious questions on everything from national security to energy policy is alarming.
Let’s look at a few high-profile races that could decide control of the Senate and the Governorships of some important swing states.
The Arizona Governor’s race.
AZ Central says a televised or live streamed debate for gubernatorial candidates has been a tradition in Arizona. Not this year. Polls show Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs neck and neck. Hobbs, Arizona’s Secretary of State, continues to duck a debate with Lake, a former TV anchor and supporter of President Trump. Lake tried confronting Hobbs at a recent town hall by sitting in the front row when Hobbs was addressing the audience, which, unbeknownst to Lake, violated the rules. It’s easy to see why Hobbs wants no part of a debate with Lake. A debate is largely about optics. Being a former TV personality, Lake is poised, confident and has a superb command of the issues. It also doesn’t hurt that she is attractive and has a mellifluous voice. Hobbs, not so much.
Richard Nixon knew better than anyone else the power of television and how important it is to be comfortable in front of a camera. Many who didn’t see the first televised Presidential debate with John Kennedy, but heard it on radio, believed Nixon had won it. Those who viewed it had a different take.
The Pennsylvania Senate Race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz is another contest too close to call. The latest polls have Fetterman slightly ahead, despite the fact he recently suffered a stroke which left him with lingering auditory issues and trouble understanding what he’s hearing. To his credit, Fetterman has agreed to one debate, two weeks after voting begins.
Here in New York Governor Kathy Hochul is employing the same strategy, agreeing to only one debate two weeks before election day. Republican Lee Zeldin is chomping at the bit for a chance to debate Hochul. A former prosecutor, Zeldin is hoping New Yorkers have had enough of democratic policies which have led to a spike in crime and a poor business climate. Most polls have him slightly behind.
It is widely expected the Republicans will retake the House, as the Party out of the White House tends to pick up seats in a midterm. Republican Liz Joy is hoping to dislodge Democrat Paul Tonko from the 20th congressional district seat he’s held since 2013. Tonko, who also served 24 years as a state Assemblyman before moving to the House, has said he will not debate Joy, whom he defeated two years ago. But why not? Shouldn’t politicians and those aspiring to public office have an obligation to appear before the people they seek to represent in such a forum?
Democrats are running scared, and we all know why. If we had a truly independent media, they would hold these gutless politicians’ feet to the fire and demand they engage in free and open debate. After all, if the policies for which incumbent democrats claim are so effective and beneficial to our republic, then they shouldn’t hesitate to defend them. But Americans know the opposite is true.