Thomas L. Friedman suggests that Joe Biden should put conditions on the Presidential debates in an attempt to constrain Trump.

First, Biden should declare that he will take part in a debate only if Trump releases his tax returns for 2016 through 2018. Biden has already done so, and they are on his website. Trump must, too. No more gifting Trump something he can attack while hiding his own questionable finances.

And second, Biden should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates -- and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered. That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled. ...

He should not go into such a high-stakes moment ceding any advantages to Trump. Trump is badly trailing in the polls, and he needs these debates much more than Biden does to win over undecided voters. So Biden needs to make Trump pay for them in the currency of transparency and fact-checking -- universal principles that will level the playing field for him and illuminate and enrich the debates for all citizens.

But what prevents Trump from pushing for similar conditions? Would Biden be willing to publicly undergo a test of his mental competence?

It's not obvious to me that refusing to debate would turn out to Biden's advantage.

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