Beyond the Ballot: Biden and Trump debate

Beyond the Ballot is written by Justin Yoo, Pascack Hills sophomore and Vice President of the Politics Club. Social media handles feature @phhspolitics_ ( and @phhspolitics (Instagram).
Beyond the Ballot: Biden and Trump debate
Biden and Trump debate
Biden and Trump debate

Welcome to “Beyond the Ballot,” a column presented and created by the PHHS Politics Club. This column will explore electoral information, congressional controversies, along with the biggest stories of the week! Stay tuned for biweekly updates from your new news source. This article will feature news on the upcoming Presidential debates.

Beyond the Ballot is back after a short hiatus! With spring break and various trips, I’ve had my hands quite full, but I’m glad to be back writing on this column. Today, we’ll break down the possible Biden-Trump debate, which should be occurring within the next couple of months prior to this fiery election season.

Joe Biden, who had long rejected debate proposals by Donald Trump for various reasons, is stepping in to agree on a couple of debates. On June 27 and Sept. 10, 2024, the two giants will be going at each other on stage for the first time in years. Joe Biden, in his public video, quipped that he knows Trump is “free on Wednesdays,” a snide remark regarding former President Trump’s time in court. The Biden campaign also requested that the Commission on Presidential Debates, a longtime arbiter, step out of this one – a historically Trumpian trope. Other regulations proposed include the removal of a crowd and no third-party candidates. 

Many voters will find this concerning, as Robert “Bobby” Kennedy Jr. is polling in the double digits as an independent. Kennedy Jr. claims that this “undermines democracy.” However, in reality, the election was never about the third-party candidates. The collective purge of all competition in this primary season indicates that there exists a will in the RNC and DNC to pit the two Presidents against each other. 

The removal of the crowd aspect in addition to the “timed microphones” clause suggests that the Biden campaign is insecure about his prospects of winning the debates. As we’ve made clear in the past, the President’s ailing health is hindering his performance in public matters. It’s regrettable that an ailing man is made to serve even in his state, but this doesn’t affect the reality of the situation: Trump holds all of the cards. A longtime T.V. personality and a businessman at heart, former President Trump simply has more experience and energy than President Biden, who relies on notecards and is seen losing his train of thought much too often. 

This may indicate the reasoning behind President Biden’s request for the removal of a crowd – to minimize the momentum Trump may gain from his T.V.-tailored personality. And, of course, the timed microphones would be a measure to keep the often fiery and loud Trump restrained – a reasonable decision. 

Given these conditions, what would motivate Biden and his campaign to make a move now? Well, let’s look at the campaign strategies explored by both sides in the last election. In 2020, the Biden campaign famously “hid in the bunker” by minimizing Joe Biden’s public appearances and focusing on discrediting Trump for his “extreme” ideas. 

This was extremely fitting for the times, since the public perception of Trump was hurting mostly in part due to his incessant tweeting. This kept the spotlight on Trump and off Biden, who had a dull, and, at times, controversial past. The result of such spotlighting is that the media had no choice (and may have had a political incentive) to target Trump in the media, partially because they had very little “dirt” on Biden (of course, excluding the highly controversial Hunter Biden Laptop case, which was covered up). 

An aspect of Biden’s 2020 strategy that made it work was his public support. He won more popular votes than anyone in history, and upset Democrats felt they had to come out and vote (something many did not bother doing in the 2016 election). However, the tables have turned and in a large number of swing states, Trump is outperforming Biden. And, recently, Trump has been playing the “moderate” role on issues, to create the perception that he is not as extreme as Biden, who is facing serious pressure internally. 

So, Trump is “bunkering” down as much as possible. While the court trials have brought him back into the limelight, he seems to be the popular candidate. His campaigning has been less about his own greatness, but instead has focused on “crooked Joe Biden.” 

So, Biden needed to make a move – and what better move is there than a Presidential Debate? This can make or break his campaign, after all. A successful debate may prove his ability to continue serving the nation, but a beatdown by Trump may ruin his prospects for reelection entirely. While it is too early to say and it is indeed a huge generalization, Biden has more to lose when it comes to moderates and his own party – his growing hesitation on supporting Israel in its entirety is presenting issues that are difficult for him to address. 

On one hand, a plurality of Americans support Israel, with 500,000 citizens also living in the democratic nation. On the other hand, the younger people in the voting population (18-29) seem to be against aid in Israel. As one moves up the age brackets, the support for Israel intensifies by up to 22 points. So, which side does he cater to? The Pro-Palestinian radicals who vow to not vote for him in 2024, or the general populus? He faces pressure from both sides and has made the understandable yet controversial decision to withhold military aid to Israel, to appease the radicals. 

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Withholding aid for political gain – a tactic Donald Trump was alleged to be guilty of and impeached for (Ukraine). While it is early to say, this may create another lane of offense for House Republicans. Certainly, it would be hard to defend against a standard your own party created. 


The upcoming election cycle will begin with an unexpected Debate between the two giants: Former President Donald Trump and Incumbent President Biden. The Trump campaign has reversed the Biden campaign circa 2020 and has successfully drawn out what can only be an advantageous debate. 

Biden faces political pressures from his party to be tough on Israel, but this is losing him polling in the general (not to mention his economic issues). 

We’ll look to release one more article before the end of the semester. Stay tuned!


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Justin Yoo
Justin Yoo, Guest Contributor
Beyond the Ballot is written by Justin Yoo, Pascack Hills sophomore and Vice President of the PHHS Politics Club. Social media handles feature @phhspolitics_ ( and @phhspolitics (Instagram).

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