Here?s why Trump’s 2nd debate could be an outright massacre

Trump with a gun

Paul Waldman from the Washington Post writes

If the first step to fixing your problem is acknowledging you have a problem, Donald Trump is in some serious trouble. We?re ten days from his second debate with Hillary Clinton, and while most voters and virtually every sane observer agree that Trump did poorly in the first debate, a spate of reporting suggests that his campaign, and especially Trump himself, are in a state of deep denial about what happened and what he needs to do in order to have a different outcome next time.

But that?s not all. Because of the format of the second debate, Trump stands to do even worse than he did in the first debate, and Clinton could do even better. …

The audience for the next debate will be made up of undecided voters selected by the Gallup organization. They will ask the bulk of the questions with others asked by the moderators, including some chosen from questions submitted by the public on this web site. There are a few critical things to understand about this format, which has been used since 1992.

The first is that the questions asked by ordinary citizens are much less predictable than the questions asked by a single journalist moderator or a panel of journalists. While they?re almost always substantive, they often raise issues that haven?t been discussed much in the campaign, and can do so from unusual angles. That favors a candidate whose understanding of policy is not only deep but broad ? in other words, someone who can give a lengthy exegesis on the Affordable Care Act, but who could also offer a few coherent sentences on the Law of the Sea Treaty if it were necessary. We know which candidate that describes.

Secondly, the setting of a town hall debate, with the candidates sitting and walking around amidst a group of voters, creates a different dynamic that Trump may not be attuned to. By many accounts, he?s itching to attack Clinton because her husband cheated on her, and he can?t stop himself from saying over and over that former Miss Universe Alicia Machado is contemptible because she gained weight. It?s one thing to do that when you?re talking to Bill O?Reilly or calling in to Fox & Friends, but just picture the cameras picking up the shocked and disgusted faces of women in the debate audience as he launches some of those insults.

Finally and most importantly, in a town hall debate we?re not only watching the candidates tell us what they think, we?re watching them interact with the people who ask the questions. The character of that interaction can be as important to our interpretation as the substance.

Trump certainly seemed to wing it to the point where he appeared to be unprepared for the first debate. ?The second debate is a totally different beast.

It will be compelling as well as mandatory watching for political tragics like ourselves

 

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