Rachel Maddow called out this election cycle’s “historically unprecedented” likely lack of general-election presidential debates, saying “We are now in a fight to save democracy in this country, and we are trying to fight for it without using democracy to fight for it.”
Though Maddow acknowledged on Wednesday’s “Rachel Maddow Show” that it’s common for debates to disappear when an incumbent president is up for re-election, she zeroed in on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s dodging of this common political practice.
Trump has not appeared in any of the five GOP debates that have taken place during this election cycle. The closest the former President came to participating was during the Jan. 10 debate when Trump held a competing town hall on Fox News.
Maddow said that this may be the “shortest primary ever” for Republicans.
“Supporters of the frontrunner are emphatically demanding that everybody has to clear the field so we can stop with all this darn voting,” Maddow said. “We’ve got no debates for the Democratic nominee. We’ve got no debates for the likely Republican nominee. Very possibly we’ve got no general election debates at all because neither Trump nor Biden has debated thus far. Neither of them seems to want to, and so why would they?”
The MSNBC host rounded out her segment by inviting presidential historian Michael Beschloss onto her show. Beschloss brought up that in 1940 and 1944 it was suggested that Franklin Roosevelt should appeal to suspend elections due to World War II.
“Roosevelt said the best way of deciding on a President and a Congress is more democracy, not less,” Beschloss said.
The author of books such as “Presidents of War: The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern Times” and “Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789–1989 ” also emphasized that debates are a chance to see candidates outside of their comfort zone. Not having the opportunity to see that is a loss to voters.
“That’s a crucial requirement for whoever is going to be the next President at a time that’s going to be very difficult in this country and very difficult around the world,” Beschloss concluded.