Jean-Jacques Cornish

Is Joe Biden taking a knife to a dishonest gunfight?

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Western movie buffs cannot agree on who first  warned combatants not to bring a knife to a gunfight.

The message: never go into a fight under weaponized ,is indisputable.

Many of Joe Biden’s supporters fear he will be doing this when he meets Donald Trump in the Presidential campaign debates starting later this month.

In the one poll Biden is trailing, he is given a 41% chance of winning the debates. 

Donald Trump is expected to win by 47% of respondents.

Biden has rejected the suggestion that he give the debates a miss altogether.

This comes from supporters who say it is impossible to argue fairly against a pathological liar.

They point to Hillary Clinton who rose to almost every outrageous statement made by Trump in their 2016 encounters.

It was like shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel.

So far, Joe Biden has avoided this. But is it an express tactic or simply his understated COVID 19 campaigning?

We will have to wait for Cleveland on September 29.

Trump has had a week turning the focus of the campaign away from his lethal failure to manage the COVID 19 pandemic onto the issue of law and order.

But he cannot expect this to last, given that 97% of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations he rails against have been peaceful.

Biden might have lanced the law and order boil early on had he used his formidable running mate.

Kamala Harris was attorney general of California, the world’s fifth largest economy.

She has a reputation for toughness that has repelled some Democrats.

Had she stepped in and reminded protestors that America is a nation of laws that will not tolerate violence, she would have countered Trump’s claims that the Democrats are soft on law and order.

This would probably not have convinced Trump’s hardline base.

But it would have impacted the middle ground that both he and Biden need to capture for victory on November 3.

The three debates between the presidential contenders and one involving the vice-presidential candidates Harris and Mike Pence will be among the most watched television  in America.

No fewer than 84 million people watched the 2016 clash between Trump and Clinton.

The authoritative Pew Centre revealed that only ten percent of viewers had not already made up their minds by  the time of the debate.

Things might be different this year because of the COVID 19 lockdown.

More people might need persuading.

For some the debates will be too late.

North Carolina has already started issuing postal ballots and aspirant postal voters in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan andVirginia will soon get theirs.

However one reads it, there is still everything to play for.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.