The news that President Joe Biden and Donald Trump have agreed to two debates, one in just a few weeks’ time, in late June, and another in September, has naturally got the punditverse buzzing.

Some commentators have focused on Biden’s sharp early morning announcement that he would welcome a debate with Trump. It was just the Egg McBiden the president’s fans—like the folks on “Morning Joe”—needed to start their day, served as it was with a side order of feistiness. Between the “Make my day, pal” opening and the “Let’s pick a date, Donald, I hear you’re free on Wednesdays” (a reference to his current court schedule) it got sharply to the point, did so with a humorous edge and obligated Trump to respond.

Trump replied in character with his own statement, using his day off from his criminal election interference trial to offer an irony-deaf reference to Biden being “crooked” and to criticize the president’s debating skills. And of course there were some strangely capitalized words for emphasis.

There were, of course, commentators who offered instant speculation about Biden’s motives—like Chris Cillizza, who concluded Biden was doing this because “he knows he’s behind” and because “he knows age/competence issues aren’t going away.”

Of course, Biden actually isn’t behind Trump in the polls, with most showing the race essentially tied—and several including the most recent NYT Ipsos poll showing Biden up by 3. Further, the idea that “age” is an issue for two guys who are essentially the same age, is one that does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny. But never mind all that.

No, after talking to a number of Biden administration officials, it is clear that the primary reason Joe Biden chose to debate Donald Trump is… because he could.

The contest is so lopsided that even Trump’s pals at the WWE could not sell a ticket to it. (I know, I know. We’ve got to manage expectations. But, do we? Really? Each time Trump debated Biden in 2020 he lost..) And ever since then, as Biden pointed out in his debate announcement, Trump has avoided debating opponents.

So, he’s bad at it and out of practice. Not a good combination.

The Biden team calculus has to be based in part on the fact that it’s Trump who is actually losing his marbles. How else do you explain his recent praise for Hannibal Lecter and his noticeably slurred words during speeches?

Furthermore, in the view of those close to Biden, Trump’s got a serious problem on the issues. He’s on the wrong side of the American public on many of the policy questions most important to them. For example, Trump keeps proclaiming he is the one responsible for the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Almost two-thirds of all women and over six out of ten men support legal abortion according to a recent Pew report. That translates into 63 percent of all Americans. That’s not a winning issue for Trump and the GOP, and recent special election results even in red states like Kansas and Ohio have shown that.

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