It’s certainly true that Trump has made Biden’s stamina — as well as the former vice president’s mental capacity — an issue in this campaign. Voters don’t necessarily agree: a poll in early July found that
52% of voters believe Biden has both the mental and physical stamina to be president versus only 45% for Trump. But here’s an idea that might convince even higher numbers. Instead of a fourth debate
that Trump’s team wants, why not hold a good old-fashioned bicycle race between the two?! Trump loves ratings and this would no doubt attract millions! I can’t even imagine how many will tune in just to see if Trump can even balance on a bicycle, let alone ride one.
What is also striking about this “riding with Biden” image is that it stands out in glaring contrast to another Democratic presidential nominee’s moment of recreation that backfired. That happened in August 2004 when Democrat John Kerry, who was taking on incumbent President George W. Bush, was photographed windsurfing
off the coast of Nantucket. Reportedly the photo op was intended “to combat Kerry’s image as a stiff-jawed ivy-leaguer.” Not only did late night hosts at the time like David Letterman and Jay Leno mock Kerry for the image, conservative blogs slammed Kerry
for his “elitist” hobby. It got worse as the Bush campaign used the image in a campaign ad accusing Kerry
shifting positions with the “wind.
(Kerry was an avid cyclist too, but his custom-made bikes
and exotic riding destinations didn’t send the same message as Biden’s “everyman” bike ride.)
An even worse image
for a Democratic presidential nominee — probably the worst ever photo op for a modern day presidential candidate — occurred in September 1988 when Michael Dukakis, in an effort to bolster his credibility to be commander in chief, donned a military helmet and rode in a M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Even the campaign reporters covering Dukakis at the time couldn’t contain their laughter upon seeing the unfortunate image that made the candidate appear desperate and goofy.
His opponent, George H. W. Bush, later utilized this image of Dukakis
in ads attacking the Democratic nominee as being weak on defense.
Compare those images to Biden on the bicycle. There’s no indication that this was a contrived photo op. It appears to be simply be Biden being Biden. He went out for a bike ride and Fox News happened to capture it. It’s the same as Trump just being Trump over the weekend where he palled around with his rich friends at his private country club and then abruptly ended a press conference after being caught lying
by a reporter.
The contrast for voters this November could not be starker.