You’ve been seeing campaign ads for Trump and Biden for several weeks now. You’ve read opinions from regular people about each candidate that range from each of them being worse than Hitler to each being suitable candidates for sainthood. It all makes for interesting and sometimes fun reading but doesn’t really help you form an opinion about your choice. History tells us that more than 90% of voters claiming a party affiliation will vote that affiliation and are unswayable. The remaining voters are the ones the campaigns ads are geared toward. A very few of these voters will be convinced by the ads. The rest will form their opinions during the three planned presidential debates.

These debates are on Sept. 29th, Oct. 15th and 22nd. They are scheduled to start at 9 p.m. on each date and to run for 90 minutes. This will give Americans the opportunity to watch the two candidates, face to face for a total of 4-1/2 hours.

There are already some rumors that Biden will back out of the debates blaming either the coronavirus or, as Nancy Pelosi suggested, because President Trump will misbehave on TV. Biden has made several comments himself that seem to be setting up a reason to back out of the debates. For example: “(It’s) been recommended to me by a number of very competent people that know their way around, including leading Republicans, that I shouldn’t debate Trump unless there’s a fact-checker on the ground.”

Unless Biden is, in fact, unable to speak clearly for 90 minutes, it would be a huge mistake for his people to pull him from the debates. If he has any chance of beating Trump, it will be during these debates. This is important for Biden because his party is losing some of its historical voter base. More and more minorities are recognizing, for various reasons, that the Democratic Party is no longer their party and they are switching to the Republican Party. Many haven’t changed parties officially but will vote for Trump anyway. Face to face Biden has a chance to make his points and argue his case in real time to try to win back some of these party jumpers. Of course, if he is unable to speak clearly or to maintain a thought process, then his people really have no choice but to pull him from the debates and offer some kind of excuse like the ones above. If this happens, one should consider that if he is incapable of attending a debate for these reasons, he probably isn’t capable of running the country.

No matter what your political affiliation, if you have any interest in the presidential election (and you should), please watch these debates. After you watch them, vote for whichever candidate you believe is best for you, your family, your country and your particular situation. But above all, vote.

Also, consider this, it is unlikely that either candidate is the “perfect” candidate for you. That is unrealistic. If you are a reasonable person, you will probably like something about both candidates and dislike things about both. You aren’t looking for perfect, you are looking for the better of the two after all things are considered.

Tim Dowling is a Sebring resident. Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.