Voters deserve to see presidential candidates debate more than once more

Were the COVID-19 virus to be a creature capable of thought, it would be easy now to accuse it of engaging in a plot aimed at American democracy. The most devious, evil schemer based in Moscow or Beijing could not come up with a more perfect storm leading up to the Nov. 3 election.

With Election Day less than a month away, the president of the United States is sick and in the hospital. We join former vice president Joe Biden, President Donald Trump’s opponent in that election, in hoping and praying for a speedy, full recovery.

But Trump, who specializes in in-person campaigning, clearly is at a disadvantage. Nothing can be done about that.

A different situation involves the two debates between Trump and Biden that were on the schedule. One was set for Oct. 15 in Miami. The other is still scheduled for Oct. 22 in Nashville.

Even after he left the hospital, Trump continues to suffer from the effect of COVID-19. It is unlikely he will be fully back to normal by Oct. 15.

With Biden in the high-risk category for developing a severe case should he contract COVID-19, it was only prudent for the Commission on Presidential Debates to make the Oct. 15 debate a virtual event. Unfortunately, Trump announced he would not participate in a virtual event, insisting the debate be held in-person as originally scheduled, which would be irresponsible under the circumstances, and the second debate was canceled as a result.

In our opinion, the commission (and Biden) should at least be willing to consider a postponement. Perhaps both debates could be moved back a week, to Oct. 22 and Oct. 29.

It’s true that it isn’t Biden’s fault Trump contracted COVID-19. But if this process is truly about the voters, then we hope he’ll reconsider.

In an election year unlike any other, the American people deserve to see both Trump and Biden debating while at their best, or as nearly so as possible, as many times as possible before Election Day.


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