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Professor: Biden and Trump may forget stuff at times, but Biden’s a better decision-maker

ANALYSIS: Don’t believe your lyin’ eyes

It takes a lot of purposeful … avoidance these days to claim Joe Biden’s physical fitness and mental is on par with that of GOP challenger Donald Trump.

But a psychology professor emeritus at Clemson University recently penned a column examining the issue of cognitive decline and age, and — surprise! — he ultimately concludes Biden is the better candidate this November.

Leo Gugerty, whose research and instruction deals with “critical thinking [and] how political ideology and trust in science influence reasoning and beliefs about controversial political topics,” says “some Americans are questioning” if Trump and Biden are “cognitively competent” given they’ve been “mixing up names while speaking” and have had “trouble recalling details of past personal events.”

Gugerty (pictured) offers quite a few link sources to mainstream media articles to help make his point which, as you may guess, focus on the challenger a lot more.

The concern about Trump’s mental faculties isn’t new; recall former Yale psychology professor Bandy Lee and, more recently, hundreds (yes, hundreds) of others — like Johns Hopkins’ Ankur Butala who opined the following about the 45th president:

There is more than enough reason to suspect Dementia [sic] including: worsening thought process, loser [sic] connections between thoughts, tangentiality, paraphasias, irritability, paranoia, persecutory ideation, impulsivity and so on; which are clearly different than videos of him from 10 years ago. Without personally examining him, I cannot clarify further, but he appears to at least have a cautious gait. The most plausible disorder would be a mixture of frontal lobe dysfunction (sort of like frontotemporal Dementia or CTE) from a vascular Dementia.

The Atlantic tweeted that Trump’s recent anecdote about sharks was “bizarre,” and asked readers to consider what the reaction would be if Biden had said them. They obviously forgot, among many other things, that Biden claimed his uncle had been eaten by cannibals.

MORE: Environmentalist professor says old age is Biden’s ‘superpower’

Unfortunately, one is likely to find coverage of Biden’s nutty claims — and his (very) short-term memory — only in conservative/independent media:

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Professor Gugerty goes on to say Biden’s and Trump’s mental lapses “are within the range of normal healthy aging and that the details of one’s personal life are not especially relevant to a president’s job.”

However, the former’s “extensive knowledge and experience in politics” end up winning the day:

Biden […] thoroughly investigates and discusses diverse viewpoints with his advisers before reaching a decision.

In contrast, Trump has considerably less experience in politics. He claims that he can make intuitive decisions in a field where he lacks knowledge by using “common sense” and still be more accurate than knowledgeable experts. This claim contradicts the research showing that extensive job-specific experience and knowledge is necessary for intuitive decisions to be consistently effective.

My overall interpretation from everything I’ve read about this is that both candidates show aspects of good and poor decision-making. However, I believe Biden regularly displays the deliberative dispositions that characterize good decision-making, while Trump does this less often.

As if running a billion-dollar business empire doesn’t qualify as “extensive job-specific experience” (economy, taxes, tariffs, etc.), especially compared to someone who’s “earned” a government paycheck his entire adult life (and otherwise enriched himself in the process).

Try taking a little trip outside the bubble, prof.

MORE: ChatGPT refuses to write poem admiring Trump, produces poem praising Biden

IMAGES: Christy/X; Chris Stigall/Facebook

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.