Sources within the Democratic National Committee who spoke on condition of anonymity, have told the Observer that Hillary Clinton is inclined to take her senior advisors’ tactical suggestion, and withdraw from her third scheduled debate with Donald Trump, set for October 19th. The reasons are as follows:
1. Clinton enjoys an historic lead in the polls. Some polls have her up by 9% nationally. The Real Clear Politics average of polls currently puts her ahead by 5.5% in a 4 way race (Clinton 44.6%, Trump 39.1%). No presidential candidate this far behind less than 30 days before the election, has ever managed to make up a 5.5% deficit in the national polls.
2. There is no compelling reason to debate Mr. Trump. There are few true undecided voters left, with such controversial and unpopular major party candidates.
3. Any time two candidates debate, the unpredictable can happen. Trump could pull a proverbial rabbit out of his hat, in the form of an e mail from Wikileaks, or a surprise from Russian intelligence. Clinton is the better debater, having spent a career in public life. But the bar for Mr. Trump is set extremely low. There is no reason to chance a Trump win.
4. Among the unpredictable things that could happen is Mrs. Clinton could faint, as she did on September 11th, 2016. She has a few chronic conditions, and Bill Clinton said on September 14th that she has always been subject to fainting spells. She may not be any sicker than the average 68 year old woman, but she clearly has health problems. Even a coughing fit could serve as grist for the conspiracy theorists.
5. Despite criticism, Trump dropped out of the final Republican primary debate on January 28, 2016. He is hardly in a position to criticize her for failing to show up for one.
6. Clinton can plausibly refuse to legitimize a man she sees as racist, sexist, misogynist, isolationist, and the leader of a “basket of deplorables.” Withdrawing from the debate will play well with her base, who will see it as heroic rather than cowardly.
7. She has already appeared to debate Trump not once but twice. Her supporters (any of the commentators on MSNBC, for example), saw both debates as Clinton victories. Nothing is to be gained in their eyes by showing up and beating an increasingly desperate Trump, a third time.
8. By avoiding being in a room again with Mr. Trump, she has the dignity of being “above the fray.” It has been the most contentious presidential election in 100 years. She can ignore Trump and issue mature calls for unity, allowing her to play the theme of “We’re Stronger Together” into the Election in January
Winning the presidency is one thing. Actually leading a fractured nation, as Clinton is likely to be doing next year, may prove more challenging than merely beating Trump. Turning on to that task now would be seen as, well, presidential.
Update: Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post has reached the same conclusion we have: Hillary should blow off (skip) the third debate.
A Democratic strategist told Peace and Freedom: “This is the Super Bowl. We are ahead by a field Goal. We’re going to sit on our lead and run out the clock.”
Tags: Axelrod, Clinton, David Axelrod, Democratic National Committee, Donald Trump, Hillary should blow off the third debate, Jennifer Rubin, Real Clear Politics, run out the clock, sit on our lead, sit on our lead and run out the clock., This is the Super Bowl. We are ahead by a field Goal. We're going to sit on our lead and run out the clock, Trump, Trump floated the idea of a drug test, Trump's call for a drug test before his next debate, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Washington Post, withdraw from her third scheduled debate with Donald Trump