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There are only two reasons candidates refuse to debate their political opponents. The first is to avoid “punching down” on a candidate who is way behind. It does not behoove a candidate who is up by 40-points to risk some random error that hurts them. It’s most common for primary candidates to avoid “punching down” against their same-party opponents who really have no chance, though it also happens in deep red or deep blue districts where general election victory is all but assured.
The second reason candidates duck debates is if they don’t want to be compared side-by-side with a superior opponent. It’s far less common because it’s generally frowned upon in general elections, but it does happen. This year, it’s happening at least twice in two of the most hotly contested and important races of the season: the Arizona governor’s race and Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race.
Good Morning !
Pennsylvania Senate: No Debate
Arizona Governor: No Debate https://t.co/L4RRnyxwR8
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) September 12, 2022
Trump-backed Kari Lake is in a heated battle with Democrat Katie Hobbs to become the next governor of Arizona. Meanwhile, Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz wants to go to the Senate but Democrat-Socialist John Fetterman stands in his way.
Neither Hobbs nor Fetterman are good orators. Hobbs has built her career, which spans four positions over the past decade, by knowing the right people and avoiding the spotlight. She takes the shadowy approach to politics, which had some Democrats concerned when she threw her name in the hat for the high-profile position of Governor. No other major candidate stepped up, so Democrats were stuck with the aloof Secretary of State.
Against an average candidate, Hobbs would almost certainly take the debate stage. But Lake has proven to be one of the most articulate and quick-on-her-feet candidates to emerge in a long time. She spars with corporate media on a daily basis and invariably gets the better of the exchanges. She would mop the floor with Hobbs and her campaign knows it which is why they came up with the ludicrous excuse that she does not want to be involved in a debate the could be a circus.
She’s doing it for Arizona, y’all!
As for Fetterman, he often sounded like a buffoon BEFORE he had his stroke this year. Now, he can barely form complete sentences. The less visible he is, the better his chances are.
Unfortunately, the electorate is far less likely to see the shortcomings of these Democrats if they don’t debate. That’s the plan. Both Democrat campaigns are hoping that their proxies and well-produced campaign ads can fool enough voters into making them believe these candidates are good. They’re trying to buy the elections by spending more money rather than letting the candidates talk directly to the people.
For transparency, I have fully backed Lake from the beginning and opposed Dr. Oz during the primary. I usually do not get behind a candidate in the general election if they couldn’t appeal to me in the primary, but Fetterman would be such a disaster if he won that I’m okay with Dr. Oz even if I do not align with his brand of Republicanism.
Katie Hobbs and John Fetterman can make whatever excuses they choose, but the people know what’s happening. These weak candidates know the more exposure they get, the easier it will be for people to see through their lies.