Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to Watch the Presidential Debates!

I’m no expert, but I don’t think one needs to be to figure out how the debates must go for Donald Trump if he is to have a chance to win this election!
by Charlie Leck

According to Nate Silver (and let’s get it straight that Silver, because of his record over the last decade, deserves attention more than any other political prognosticator in America), Donald Trump will need “perhaps 65 million” votes to win the presidential election in November. This will require, Silver explains, a tremendous expansion of the following he had among primary voters.

Historically, presidential candidates have made some significant efforts to expand that base by presenting himself (or herself) as more flexible and centrist than the opponent. The idea of appealing to the center has been around for years in presidential politics – Reagan was a master at it and so were John F. Kennedy and his brother, Bobby. George W. Bush got elected because Al Gore was too stubborn about compromising and moving to a more central position in the voters’ eyes. Richard Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey because the center was too big a stretch for the staunch liberal that Humphrey was.

Donald Trump took such rigid positions in the primary races that he is having a hard time moving closer to the center on his positions. And, as Silver wrote, “Trump’s decision this week to make Stephen Bannon of the combative, anti-establishment website Breitbart News his campaign’s chief executive suggests that he’s moving in the opposite direction.”

Trump’s favorable position among general election voters is actually down from the numbers during his campaign (now about 32 percent according to Huffington Post, while Silver puts him at about 37 percent).

In short, Donald Trump absolutely must have a serious crash by Hillary Clinton even though she is way out in front and can campaign cautiously – making every possible effort to prove to the American people that she is a centrist at heart.

If you want to watch the coming Presidential Debates with some sense of political strategy, you’ll need to carefully essay whether Donald Trump can resist all-out fist fights and ungentlemanly insults of the character of Mrs. Clinton. The Democrats are hoping that Trump will continue such childish and foolish misbehavior because the belief is that Trump has wrung out as many votes as he’ll be able to get from such an approach.

Is Donald Trump capable of the kind of civility that is expected of a President of the U.S.A.? It is an answer to that question for which viewers will be waiting and watching. Can he be coached? Does he understand the centrist concept? Can he contain his temper?


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