Since 1976, the answer to that question for every major party presidential nominee has been “yes.” But there are rumblings from within the Democratic Party that Biden should turn that precedent on its head — particularly if his 2024 Republican opponent is former President Donald Trump.
“I would think twice about it,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently told the Hill. “[In 2016] I watched him do outrageous things and say outrageous things. It’s just an opportunity for him to display his extremism.”
There are prominent and recent examples of politicians skipping debates without damage, something that will surely factor into Team Biden’s decision-making process.