Sunday, September 25, 2016

Trump Should Enjoy A Buffet Of Low-Hanging Fruit At All The Debates

"Hillary wants real-time fact checking during the debate, but not on the 27 times she said she never emailed classified material." ... Josh Earnst Tweet (parody)

By all accounts,  Hillary Clinton should do well at the debates, beginning tomorrow night. She will be well prepared.  She certainly has the experience albeit with few accomplishments. Nevertheless,  she should have many facts at her disposal as well as knowledge of policy...domestic and foreign.

Trump, on the other hand, might not have a grasp of the issues.  But what he does have is the ability to pivot on questions. More importantly, he has a buffet of low-hanging fruit to pick from. Very similar to what Romney had with Obama but Romney didn't have the "killer" instinct. He never went after the jugular. He wanted to be viewed as a "nice" guy and being a nice guy debating any opponent is a formula for defeat. And that's what we witnessed.

If I were Trump, I would go after Clinton's incompetence, failings and lack of accomplishments. These should include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Failure after failure in foreign policy from the Russian reset to Libya (Benghazi included) to Syria (red lines now lines soaked in blood) to N. Korea to the abject failure of the Iran Deal (she supports it to this day).
  • Clinton's total lack of transparency on almost all issues including her health.
  • Iraq and Syria being infiltrated by ISIS.
  • Clinton's ever-growing e-mail scandal.
  • The failure of progressive policies----domestic and foreign----for the last 8 years including her tenure as NYS Senator and Secretary of State.
  • Hillary Clinton is perhaps one of the most corrupt politicians seeking the Oval Office.
  • Targeting her pathological lying and untrustworthiness----both shown by every poll taken in the last year.
If Hillary Clinton or the media's moderator try to use "gotcha" questions,  all Trump has to do in response is to remind the audience that it's those type of questions that lead to the mistrust many Americans have of most politicians and the media.  Trump has to focus on leadership. He needs to provide a vision.  Hillary Clinton lacks both.

As one observer noted, debates are not SAT tests.  In many respects, it's how the debaters come across on TV.  Nixon found that out when he ran against JFK.  Those listening to the debate on radio believed Nixon did well.  But those who watched the debate on TV preferred Kennedy.  Whether we like to admit it or not, this is about celebrity TV.  And Trump has the advantage. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton rarely comes off well on TV.

Peggy Noonan said it best: "Trump's advantage?  Americans love to say they think outside the box.  Trump lives outside the box.  Hillary is the box."