The projected audience of about 100 million viewers will NOT be tuning in for a debate. They are interested in the political equivalent of a DEMOLITION DERBY. The referee will be in the arena with equal status in this match.
We all know the players in this game. There is nothing new to learn about them or their policies. It is ludicrous to call this confrontation a debate when one of the participants is a sociopath.
The audience is looking for a crash and blood on the studio floor. The so-called moderator is an equal contender in this reality show. The smart money is on the referee being the biggest loser at the end of the program.
I know what Clinton and Trump both stand for. There is nothing that can happen tomorrow night that will change that.
I can say this for sure: Mr. Trump will again bluff and offer no specifics and just simply use ‘tactics’ to deflect the question and appear ‘grandiose”.
He will thus fail and then question the moderator as ‘biased’- a democratic ally, an unfair questioner who supported and voted previously for Obama.
Trump will thus boycott all the debates and his ardent supporters will say it is cool and how courageous he is in taking risks. Finally, Trump will not release his tax return ever!. He will try to fool everyone by offering dates and then shifting his stance. He will not offer an apology for his birther movement’ and the delegitimization of a whole presidency and finally he will not say what type of relationship he had with the current Russian administration and what he will have if elected.
Moreover, the most critical part of any presidential debate has nothing to do with convincing each candidate’s existing fan base of anything. The key part of virtually every presidential campaign?—?one that often gets lost amidst the media hype?—?is that neither Democrats nor Republicans decide any given election: *moderates* do. Even further, those moderates can just as easily swing to the right (e.g. with Bush 43) as they do the left (e.g. with Obama). Further still, nearly every poll taken during the post-convention period has shown a significant percentage of Americans?—?a much higher-than-normal one as well?—?have yet to make a concrete choice.
Even if the moderators fail to keep Trump in check, as was the case during the GOP debates, undecided voters are nearly certain to witness the stark difference between the candidates: one of them is the most qualified and knowledgeable nominee in decades, with exceptionally detailed ideas about how to lead the nation, and the other is a boorish conspiracy theorist whose vision of America is rooted in pure nihilism (on top of open racism, sexism, nationalism, and plain old-fashioned xenophobia).
In the ancient words of Isaiah, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” Hillary needs to transform her focus in the debates and throughout her campaign to present her own compelling vision for America and its people.
That vision begins with what JFK called “the unfinished public business of our country,” especially as it affects the American people’s ability to put food in the stomach, clothes on the back and a roof over the head for themselves and their families within a reasonably safe and secure environment. It must also include opportunities that give Americans the realistic hope that they can make achievable plans for the future. To the extent that Hillary focuses on such a tangible, measurable vision she will be successful.
But if she fails to understand?—?really understand?—?that Donald Trump is the daffiest duck on the pond and focusing on him merely brings her into daffy-land herself, she will squander her opportunity to present a compelling, achievable vision for America, as well as her chance to become president.
The saddest and most revealing part of this whole discussion is that This is America in 2016. TV cred, huge sums of money, testosterone-fueled tough talk, and unvarnished derision of “others” are on the table, and a whole lot of Americans put them there. The media didn’t do it; Trump’s billions didn’t do it; American primary voters?—?however misguided or ignorant they might have been?—?did it, enabled by all of the conflicting party structures in 50 separate states, with virtually no nationwide management of how these voters are empowered.
On election night in 2012, the minute Obama’s re-election was certain, I heard Andrea Mitchell wonder aloud “what does this mean for Hillary Clinton in 2016?” And this is the “news” now. Not coverage of what is happening now or in the past week. Not “what does this election result mean for American families tomorrow, next week, next month.” It’s all about the game and speculation about what will happen in the game, when we just need to wait a few days to find out. And when we do? Will the news media discuss how that outcome affects our world? Or just the ratings? (That’s a rhetorical question.)