September 30, 2020

What Trump Should Do Next Time

Dana Mathewson

I've been reading many articles about the debate last night (9/29), and as expected, opinions are all over the place. A number of people suggest there should be no more debates since "Biden won," but that's silly. If he won, wouldn't you want him to go out and do it again? Saying he won, now let's have no more debates is a tacit admission that he lost.

But Trump committed some errors too, and here's a good article suggesting how he can improve next time.

During the first presidential debate on September 29, President Donald Trump appeared to have two distinct strategies. First, he clearly wanted to prove Democratic nominee Joe Biden could not hold his water, that his cognitive decline would not allow him to keep up with Trump. Trump also wanted to get Biden to tie himself up in knots by lurching toward the center and rejecting the radical left faction of the Democratic Party.

The extent to which Trump succeeded in these dual goals should paint his strategy for the next two debates. So, how did he do?

To the second strategy, Trump scored the biggest body blows of the match. On the two most important issues to the far left, Trump got Biden to sell out the radicals, thereby fracturing his base. Trump got Biden to say that he would not defund the police and that he didn’t support the Green New Deal. Bernie Sanders had called Biden’s campaign the most progressive in history, in an attempt to shore up the far-left base of the Democratic Party. Biden completely squandered that faction’s support and did real damage to his campaign. Without the far left, which has increasingly dominated Biden’s party, he can’t grow his support into a groundswell. That’s what base voters are for, and Biden blew it.

With his first strategy, however, Trump did not achieve his goal. Biden came off as lucid and kept his cognition together for the hour and a half or so the debate lasted. In fact, Trump’s attacking style seems to have backfired. Trump wasn’t trying to win the debate as much as he was trying to break Biden. His constant attacks, interruptions, and abrasive style had a purpose. He hoped to confuse Biden with multiple lines of attack and get him to start punching at shadows.

The first time it became clear that it wasn’t working was when Trump launched his attack on Biden’s son, Hunter. Biden became visibly riled up and even angry. Instead of causing Biden to become confused, the adrenaline rush and a father’s righteous anger in defending his son seemed to snap him into better focus.

Trump may have had the opposite of his intended effect by stimulating Biden to react instead of losing track of the conversation. The line of attack over Hunter Biden is an important issue for American voters to consider. The consistent favors he received because of who his father is, on top of the obvious connections to Russia and China, require deep scrutiny. The campaign should continue to raise those questions for the remainder of the campaign.

[...]

Instead of attack-dog mode, Trump should be the Trump who delivered the nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. In that speech, he was steady, measured, and he laid out a strong case for reelection. He never raised his voice, and at times spoke almost in a monotone. He projected strength and stability.

This approach in the next two debates may actually be more effective in challenging Joe Biden’s lucidity, especially if Trump radically changes strategies from the first debate. Biden would be on his heels, wondering where that other Trump went, and when the attacks may come. He would also be more likely to lose track of the conversation, without the sensory stimulus of constant attacks and emotionally charged accusations against his son.

Trump absolutely should repeat what worked in the first debate. Get Joe Biden to tie himself in knots over whether he will govern as a moderate or a progressive, further eroding his base.

Instead of attacking and interrupting, however, Trump should present a calm, steady message that doesn’t engage Biden emotionally.

Sounds like a winner to me. I really hope somebody on Trump's team reads this article, which is here: https://pjmedia.com/election/jeff-reynolds/2020/09/30/an-open-letter-to-the-trump-campaign-how-to-handle-the-next-two-debates-n986957 It is certainly worth a try -- assuming it can get past the "moderator." I use quotes because Chris Wallace scarcely deserved the term -- "partisan" would have been a better choice of words, and the next debates feature operatives who promise to be worse.

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Posted by: buy weed uk at September 30, 2020 05:43 PM (LGTz1)

2 Good points there, although I'm not sure of that last business about being measured; the fact is, if Trump doesn't correct the lies made by Biden and the moderator they will stand. So many on our side complain about Trump answering this stuff, but that's why the Republicans are always mischaracterized; they let it happen. I agree; the fight probably got Sleepy Joe's heart racing and focused him, but he didn't need a lot of focus as Wallace came riding in to the rescue whenever he was in trouble.

And Trump is trying to get the base out now, not win "undecideds" who really don't exist these days. Nothing Trump does will win over the snowflake white women who are frightened of him.

I would have loved a more intellectual debate, with Trump nailing Biden on point after point. But I don't think it much mattered; the media was going to call this for Biden no matter what. And I am sure Biden was a.doped up and b.using an earpiece.

BTW Biden did all the name calling, calling Trump "bozo" and saying "shut up" at one point. I wish Trump would have looked right at him and said "nope"; it would have driven Biden mad.

I think these were good suggestions all in all though.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at October 01, 2020 07:05 AM (H1ky5)

3 One of Trump's best zingers was at Wallace, when he said "Oh, I guess I'm having to debate you too" or words to that effect. I wish, when Wallace had insisted on moving on and not letting Trump finish a point, Trump had persisted somehow. The whole thing was unfair, overall, as we knew it would be -- and the next ones will be worse. Trump should come out swinging: "OK, I'm only going to debate one of you, which is it going to be?"

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at October 02, 2020 10:21 PM (KUGZY)

4 Agreed Dana. Trump clearly had two opponents. Yeah; he ought to say that straight up at the beginning of the next debate - assuming there will be one (which I doubt since Trump has the stupid Covid.)

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