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Monday, September 26, 2016

Nine things you need to know about tonight's debate

Televised debates decide presidencies. Not every election, but they do and they will this time. As this election is a referendum on Trump -- masterly engineered by him, by the way -- he only has to win one of the three debates to win the presidency.

What to look for:

1. Lester Holt should play it straight. He has a dream job at NBC. Why screw it up with a debate controversy? He wins if he gives the losing side nothing to complain about.

2. Trump has to be Trump but also presidential. He's done that several times. Everyone remembers the first Republican debate when he took on Megyn Kelly. But the second debate was better because he learned it was OK to not hog the spotlight. Those were his first two debates. Ever. Trump beat the pros eleven times. The only debate he did not win was the one he did not attend.

3. Hillary has to look and stay healthy. She will. If they have to use Animatronics to get her to look healthy, they will. Her one fear is a coughing attack.

4. Can the canned lines. Rubio lost in New Hampshire and Al Gore in 2000 by robotically repeating the same lame line.

5. After the debate, watch who complains about Holt. That's the debate loser. Trump must learn not to complain. He did not complain after the Matt Lauer forum.

6. The Matt Drudge Poll is another indicator. Trump will need more than 60 percent to convince me. Also, other online polls will emerge. I learned after the Cleveland State debate in 1980 that those post-debate polls are on the up-and-up.

7. Frank Luntz and his focus groups are a joke. His fellow practitioners should tell him to knock it off, because he is hurting the business.

8. Fact-checkers are social justice warriors. The more peevish and tedious the claims against Trump, the better.

9. No one in the media will admit they are wrong, but look for Peggy Noonan to be kind to Trump on Friday if he wins tonight. She is a weathervane, and God bless her for that.

The public decided on Hillary years ago, and while I struggle to understand her attraction, she has her ardent supporters. Divide the country in three and you have Always Hillary, Never Hillary, and those who say they wish they had someone else but will settle for her.

That third group is Trump's to win. That is what the two sides are playing for. Hillary cannot win the debates. She must play defense. But that suits her just fine, as she is lame on offense. Her debates with Obama and Sanders showed this.

Trump? This is his night. As Roy Scheider's character Joe Gideon said in All That Jazz -- Show Time!


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  1. Replies
    1. At some time during the first debate Trump should turn to HRC and pointedly ask, "Will you promise to the American people that you would never appoint a person to a significant position with a history of close personal ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, " or "I pledge that as president, I will never appoint a person with strong Muslim Brotherhood connections to any meaningful post and ask my opponent if she will join me in that promise to the people?"

  2. In order to suppress coughing fits Illary may be over medicated which could affect her appearance and performance. I also bet she'll be wearing Depends so that she can make it through all 90 minutes without a potty break.

    1. Her sighing while the Donald is talking will be from relief rather than disgust.

    2. Not Depends. A Foley catheter.

    3. Not Depends. A Foley catheter.

  3. You know, at the race-track, the winning nag gets draped with Flowers.

    That's kinda an arresting mental image, isn't it?

  4. Like Surber, I am going to be looking at the post-debate "Who won" polls. I just assume every talking head outside of FoxNews will be proclaiming Clinton the winner by a football score of 193-0. Indeed, I think they literally can't help themselves and will vastly overinflate Clinton's performance so ridiculously that even if she actually did well, it will appear to most people that she actually lost in the comparison. Surber is right- 60% plus in the Drudge poll will be a good number for Trump- under that is a bad one.

    Trump can end this election tonight if he keeps his head and refuses to be drawn into an egg-head level college debate- something every Democrat candidate seems to think these presidential debates are-stays focused on the state of the economy and the world, reminds people who the president has been the last 8 years and who his SoS was for half of it; and finally, offers a positive vision for changing D.C. and direction of the country. He does that, and Clinton will sink like a lead turd.

    If he can do the above, his security needs to be very tight until the election- if it becomes clear he is likely to win, other means of stopping him will rise up the decision tree's of his opponents.

    1. "sink like a lead turd."

      Bravo! That's right up there with another of my favorites about spin doctors: polishing a turd. Or the one about trying to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  5. You know I am hopeful here, but I wouldn't surprise me if Hillary is an No-Show.
    Pneumonia and all that...
    I hope Trump is allowed to debate an empty chair..

  6. Heard he has ex-Blackwater people in back of SS..
    I would be an interesting fight...
    If someone tried...

  7. Nice summary.

    As to point 1, Lester Hold needs to ask questions related to the three topics he has settled on - "America's Direction, "Achieving Prosperity" and "Securing America", not about tax returns, etc.

    If he gets off topic, I hope Mr. Trump will say how the question does not have anything to do with policy and proceed to answer with policy positions.