NYT Op-Ed Calls For Scrapping Presidential Debates Because They ‘Have Never Made Sense As A Test For Presidential Leadership’

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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An op-ed published in The New York Times Monday called for cancelling presidential debates because they “have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership.”

The op-ed, written by Washington-based journalist Elizabeth Drew, argued that debates have become similar to “professional wrestling matches.” Drew suggested debates should be scrapped.

“Points went to snappy comebacks and one-liners. Witty remarks drew laughs from the audience and got repeated for days and remembered for years,” Drew wrote, citing previous presidential debates.

Drew assured readers that this call to cancel was not due to the thought of former Vice President Joe Biden debating President Donald Trump. She suggested that Biden would hold his own, as he “has done just fine in a long string of such contests.”

“This, by the way, isn’t written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates; Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests,” according to the op-ed. “The point is that ‘winning’ a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves.”

The op-ed went on to argue the alternative to presidential debates could be to simply “pay attention” and “follow the long campaign.” This led to Drew’s suggestion that if people had paid attention previously, “it wasn’t impossible to see the implications of a Trump presidency” during his campaign.

“Moreover, we didn’t need the debates to tell us that Trump had chosen to be the P.T. Barnum of American politics,” according to Drew. “For him, it was (and still is) all about the show, about distracting the public from reality. It was obvious that Mr. Trump had no real affinity for the working-class people whose votes he was chasing.”

“Nothing in his life suggested that his heart was with struggling workers and farmers. It wasn’t impossible to know that he wasn’t the skilled businessman he professed to be. His bankruptcies and shady business practices and discrimination against Black tenants were no secret.” (RELATED: ‘Intellectual Curiosity … Is Now A Liability’: Bari Weiss Writes Scathing Resignation Letter From The NYT Amid Its Woke ‘Civil War’)

Drew’s op-ed ends by noting that “party conventions … are close to being done away with.” The article cites this as further support for throwing “the presidential debates on the trash heap of useless (at best) rituals that are no help in our making such a fateful decision.”