By Larry Levine –

When I first heard President Biden would debate former President Trump, I wondered who in the Biden campaign was crazy enough to think it was a good idea. Then I learned the idea originated with the Biden campaign and I thought whoever came up with such a hare-brained notion should be fired.

And all that was before I watched the debate.

There’s a fundamental tenet of election campaigning: when you have the advantage, don’t do anything to give the other side a break, when you are ahead don’t give the other side an inch. This includes avoid debating the person who’s behind you.

Despite the jumble of polls of recent months, the fact is the clear advantage was with Biden before the debate. He beat Trump four years ago; he is the incumbent President; and Donald Trump is a known and unpopular quantity. There was nothing to be gained by debating him, absolutely nothing, and that would be true even if he weren’t a compulsive liar.

The Biden campaign has a box car full of video footage to hang around Trump’s neck in paid commercial advertising. Why then create a vehicle, a debate, that would give Trump an opportunity to dance his way around all those issues with lies and distortions?

The Biden campaign has video from the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump’s ugly role in it. Those are TV commercials waiting to happen. Hang the insurrection around Trump’s neck. Remind the public of what they already know, what they saw with their own eyes. Don’t give Trump a chance to deny everything and pass the blame on to others as he did in the debate.

The Biden campaign has plenty of video of Trump bungling through the COVID crisis, advocating quack cures, sidelining Dr. Fauci, making it okay for people to refuse to get vaccinated and all the rest of the botched responses that led to millions of deaths. Those are TV commercials waiting to remind voters who Donald Trump really is. In a debate Trump can do exactly what he did – claim credit for ending the pandemic and twist the facts to blame Biden for all the deaths.

All those issues that led to Biden defeating Trump four years ago are still there. The job of the Biden campaign is two-fold: 1) remind America who Donald Trump is and 2) remind America of the accomplishments of the Biden administration.

What loose nuts in the Biden campaign thought giving Trump free reign to lie and distort on national television under the credibility and color of a debate was a good idea?

Were the Republican candidate anyone but Donald Trump, the race would be over right now. But it is Donald Trump and the Biden campaign still has a full arsenal of weapons with which to win in November.

So, here we are days after Trump lied his way through 90 minutes of national television and instead of discussing why a convicted felon should step aside and who should replace him on the Republican ticket, we are discussing whether Biden should bow out.

It becomes a matter of Trump’s lies have been repeated so often they no longer are news, so let’s talk about who should replace Biden. It’s a Republican’s wet dream and they don’t even need to participate in it. The media and even some Democrats are doing it for them.

There’s another debate on the agenda in September. So, let’s look at what Biden can do then and in the weeks leading up to it to achieve a different result. Here are a few things Biden could say directly to Trump and the TV audience in the next go round.

ON TRUMP’S CONVICTIONS all Biden need do is look at Trump and say:

“Twelve citizens in New York heard the evidence against you and cast 408 votes to convict you of 34 felonies. You are an embarrassment to America and should withdraw from this race. Let a respectable Republican take your place.” When the moderator tells Biden he has more time left for his answer, Biden should simply say, “I don’t need any more time. There’s only one convicted felon on this stage.”

ON FASCISM IN AMERICA Biden should look at Trump and say:

“America watched neo-Nazis march openly on our streets and you said you saw good people in that ugly mob. There is no place for Naziism or Fascism in America. Millions of our young men fought and died to protect us from those evils. You should apologize for that remark or withdraw from this race and let a true American represent the Republican Party.” When the moderator tells Biden he has more time left for his answer, Biden should simply say, “I don’t need any more time. There’s only one wanna be dictator on this stage and America knows who it is.”

ON COVID, LEADERSHIP OR ANY SIMILAR SUBJECT Biden should look at Trump and  say:

“You were a blundering buffoon when we needed leadership as COVID raged across the nation. We watched on television as you refused to tell people they needed to be vaccinated to protect themselves and others. We watched you deny the experts, marginalize Dr. Fauci and tell people to inject themselves with lethal chemicals.” When the moderator tells Biden he has more time left for his answer, Biden should simply say, “I don’t need any more time. America remembers the images from those awful days and America knows it was my administration that stepped up and passed the recovery act and made sure the vaccines were available to everyone who wanted them.”

You get the idea. Remind people of the person they ran out of office four years ago and why they did that. Whatever the subject, deliver the blow and stop talking. If the moderator says you have more time coming, just say, “I’ve made my point. I’ll leave the time to discuss other subjects, like how he wants to repeal the affordable care act and how he loaded up a Supreme Court with justices who repealed a women’s right to choice and told presidents they are free to commit crimes in office without fear of prosecution.”

Carry the fight to Trump. He’ll come unhinged and revert to his nastiest self. And along the way, remind voters of the bipartisan accomplishments of your administration, of the times you brought Democrats and Republicans together for the good of the country while Trump was trying to divide the nation. How his administration lost nearly 3 million jobs and your administration added more than 16 million jobs.

I’ve presented these points in the context of a debate and certainly it’s how Biden should conduct himself in the next debate. But in a broader sense, this is a roadmap for the kind of campaign Biden needs to run to save the nation from a would be neo-fascist dictator.