How Donald Trump can use the debates to put Joe Biden away

In deciding to debate ex-President Donald Trump on June 27 and Sept. 10, President Biden tacitly admitted he’s losing right now; this is a Hail Mary gambit to turn the race around.

Trump needs to figure out how to seal the deal instead.

That means practicing so he can keep his cool, and pull off a performance more like the second 2020 Biden-Trump faceoff than the first.

Biden’s goal will be to goad Trump into shooting himself in the foot on things like abortion and early voting.

On the first, Trump plainly has his eye on the ball. As he rightly boasted at his Wildwood rally, “We’ve also gotten abortion out of the federal government and back to the states,” so it’s “now up to the will of the people in each state.”

Which is where it has to remain unless and until the public comes to some clear national consensus that’s unlikely to appear for the foreseeable future.

And, yes, “Some states will be more conservative and others will be more liberal”: He specifically flagged the surprisingly progressive choices of Ohio and Kansas voters, going as far as saying, “But that’s the way it is, and it’s something that we should cherish.”

America needs a break from needless culture wars, and Trump wants a truce, at least at the national level.

That’s basically Nikki Haley’s position, and likely a main reason she’s still drawing major votes in meaningless GOP primaries weeks after she called it quits.

But Trump may not see the hidden agenda in Biden’s “democracy” offensive: It’s not just about tempting the ex-prez into bogging down relitigating the 2020 vote, but also a bid to cozen him to keep dumping on early voting — and so depress his own vote total in November.

Sorry: Every state- and local-level GOP operative knows they’ve got to maximize their early-vote totals; the Democrats certainly are, and it helped them a lot in 2022 as well as 2020.

Don’t obsess over some abstract principle.

Play to win by the rules as they are, or you might as well be Hillary Clinton belatedly whining about the Electoral College after she lost.

As our own Michael Goodwin notes, Biden’s endless disasters mean the race is now Trump’s to lose.

If he instead places his cards calmly and wisely, he could wind up with a crushing win.