What About Our Norms? Joe Biden DESTROYS Cherished, Decades-Old Tradition

Obama also hated norms

May 15, 2024

President Joe Biden abolished yet another cherished norm on Wednesday by refusing to cooperate with the bipartisan body that has overseen every presidential debate since the late 1980s.

In a bombshell letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates, Biden campaign chair Jen O'Malley Dillon said the president "will not be participating" in debates sponsored by the commission, which she dismissed as "outdated" and "out of step with ... the interests of voters."

Biden and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, who vowed to debate the president "anytime, anywhere," have agreed to debate at least twice without the commission's involvement. CNN, the Democratic-aligned network, will host the first debate in Atlanta on June 27. ABC News, which is also aligned with the Democratic Party, will host the second debate on September 10.

The bipartisan debate commission had tentatively proposed three debates to take place between September 16 and October 9. Biden's campaign suggested those dates were too late in the calendar to be "meaningful to all voters" given that early voting in several states will have already started. Others have suggested Biden, 81, just wants to make it to November without dying, and is too scared to debate Trump three times in the last few weeks before Election Day.

Biden's decision to obliterate a beloved bipartisan tradition is the latest example of his divisive, norm-busting leadership style. The president has also refused to accept the results of scientific polls that show him losing to Trump. Many view this as part of a sinister plot to preemptively delegitimize the election results in November.

In addition to promising a cure for cancer, Biden presented himself to voters in 2020 as the only candidate who would respect cherished norms and traditions such as the presidential debate commission. "You're supposed to be the candidate who stands up for norms and traditions and now you're ducking this tradition?" an outraged Nate Silver wrote on social media in response to Biden's norm-defying debate dodge.

Biden is hardly the first Democratic presidential candidate to seek political advantage by attacking the crucial norms undergirding our fragile democratic system. In 2008, former president Barack Obama became the first major party candidate to opt out of the public financing system for presidential campaigns, which would have limited how much money he could raise and spend to get elected. Democrats used to care about "money in politics," but now they don't even bother.

We must protect these norms.