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The Democrats Are Forfeiting Their Biggest Advantage

David Frum
 

By David Frum (original source The Atlantic)

“Democrats who watched the second debate on Thursday probably thought their party had a good night. It did not, and they should worry.

Their first worry is the weakness of former Vice President Joe Biden. He has led the Democratic pack—and he polls well with the larger public—on the strength of his offer of a return to normality after the maelstrom of the Trump presidency. The big doubt about Biden: Can he cope with the ferocious malignancy that is Donald Trump? When Trump roars and raves, abuses and insults, can Biden meet and master the obscenity of it all?

Last night, Biden showed that the answer is probably: no. The evening’s most dramatic moment was Senator Kamala Harris’s attack on Biden’s racial record, prefaced with a condescending, “I don’t think you’re a racist.” The attack was delivered with all the unpredictable spontaneity of a speech by one of the animatronic characters in Disney’s Hall of Presidents. Biden knew it was coming. He was prepared for it. He had answers ready. And yet, they were inadequate. He heard the question, but not the question behind the question: If you cannot cope with this preplanned line of attack from Harris, how will you cope with the manic aggression of Donald Trump?”

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