Thursday, October 22, 2020
Donald Trump was interviewed for CBS 60 Minutes. Trump has released a video of the interview.
The interview can be used to assist preparation to provide a plan for either candidate to use in the Presidential debate tonight.
There are two audiences for a debate. First, there are the people who watch the whole thing (a subset of this audience consists of the news media and commentators on television and major newspapers). Second would be the people who hear about the debate second hand.
People who watch the whole debate are impressed (more or less in this order) by the candidate who
- · has the best line or two;
- · is the most likeable;
- · is the strongest, most presidential;
- · does the best job of refuting the other candidates’ attacks;
- · does the best job of describing their own positions and benefits to the country;
- · does the best job of attacking their opponent.
People who hear about the debate second hand are influenced by
- who won, according to media they trust;
- the one or two quotes from the debate they hear, and how that echoes with their own hopes and fears.
In the interview President Trump showed that his approach consists of
- repeating (and re-repeating) accusations, some based on fantasy, others on unproven allegations, (many on the authority of 'everybody knows' or 'you know') against his opponent, the moderator, the news media, and others;
- ignoring the people who have died and been sickened, and praising himself for saving all the people who did not;
- ignoring the people who are out of work and suffering, and praising himself for those who have gone back to work;
- ignoring people at his rallies who crowd together without masks, and saying that he gave masks out and has no objection to masks;
- praising himself for the way the economy was going before it cratered;
- claiming the virus was not his fault, but China acted disgracefully;
- interrupting every time he is contradicted in any way, and attacking the other speaker;
- making up things about what would happen under a Biden Presidency;
- making up things about what he would do in the next term (like pass a health care plan to replace Obamacare).
A potential strategy for Trump would be to be honest, thoughtful, strong but polite, and sensitive to those who have suffered in the pandemic.
A potential strategy for Biden (since Trump probably outlined his arguments in the interview, allowing Biden to be prepared for those or others like them) might be to
· Use the time when Trump is muted to
o QUICKLY refute the predictable attacks;
o QUICKLY assert Trump’s responsibility for the COVID disaster in the US;
o QUICKLY denounce Trump’s inability to take responsibility (for COVID & other things);
o QUICKLY assert the Obama-Biden record for bringing the economy back and handing Trump a solid;
o QUICKLY assert the Biden plan for dealing with the health crisis, the economy, the inequality;
o STRONGLY demonstrate respect for those who have suffered from the pandemic, from racial injustice and from financial problems;
o STRONGLY assert the need (more than ever!) for truth, equality, and health care (pointing out that Trump is either living in a bubble of unreality, or a cruel, self-
o Be prepared to spontaneously and accurately react to a moderator’s question or a Trump statement in a short, memorable way.
· Use the time when the microphones are not muted (and Trump is interrupting or lying) to
o STRONGLY refute Trump’s accusations, and Trump’s boastful lies (and if necessary counterattack with the allegations of Trump's corruption, self-dealing, and unconstitutional behavior);
o STRONGLY assert his own record and his plans;
o STRONGLY focus on the need to deal with healthcare, equality, truth in government, equal justice for all, the environment, and more: all the things that a government should be doing for all the people.