‘They Should Both Be Terrified’: Biden, Trump and the State of Our Disunion

Frank Bruni, a contributing Opinion writer, hosted a written online conversation with the politics writers Joe Klein and Olivia Nuzzi to discuss the state of the likely Biden-Trump race, this week’s State of the Union address and the state of possible third-party threats.

Frank Bruni: Olivia, Joe, I’m so psyched to be doing this with two journalists I so hugely admire. This conversation appears on Super Tuesday, which means we’re fully, terrifyingly deep into the presidential election season — and I can’t shake the sense that it’s over, at least the part where we know the nominees. Am I bowing too much to conventional wisdom?

What, really, are the chances that something happens today, or tomorrow, or when President Biden delivers his State of the Union remarks on Thursday, that translates into either him or Donald Trump not being on the November ballot? And which of those two would be more likely not to be?

Olivia Nuzzi: Aside from biblical intervention, I don’t think anything could possibly happen this week, in the primaries or at the State of the Union address that would dramatically shift the conversation.

Joe Klein: Super Tuesday is almost always a disappointment. Too many venues, not enough focus, and not nearly the fun of the early retail primaries. This year, it’s more like Sleep-In Tuesday. It’s not nearly as important as Biden’s speech — which will provide the mental acuity assessment we’re all anxious about.

Bruni: So the State of the Union is basically Biden’s visit to the national neurologist, and the content of what he says will be lost to the winds?

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