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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Columns

Both candidates must adjust to win next debate


The first debate only heightened my disdain for the current election cycle, which I’m still sure is just a warning for other planets on what not to do, and the prolonged absurdity.

The whole event was a contentious mess that made me feel worse about the fate of our republic. It was also a somewhat bore to watch, which is the worst thing for Donald Trump. The two candidates showed people who they are going to be for the rest of the election (the pivot!) and readied for the impending fireworks.

Everyone has weighed in on the presidential debate. They have decided who won (including The Cougar’s own Frank Campos) and lost (the country). But that’s in the past.

What’s more important now is how the candidates should prepare for their next fallacy-fueled meeting and win the debate in the minds of Americans.

Here are some tips for both candidates:

Hillary Clinton

Clinton found her strategy on beating Trump in the first debate by baiting him.

She clearly watched the tapes from the Republican primary debates and came prepared to attack Trump. She did all this when Trump could have won in the first 30 minutes.

Her strategy with Trump is simply target the man’s ego, which is one of the largest in the current political environment. All you have to do is make Trump feel like he’s being attacked — directly or implied. He will then turn to attack you because he can’t handle any kind of criticism.

She also needs to keep him on the defensive no matter what he says. Trump, despite his flaws, is great on offense, quickly talking you into submission and putting you in a hole. The more Clinton makes Trump talk about himself, the more likely he’ll say something stupid.

Finally, make him talk about the wall and his other controversial policies. In the first debate, Trump did not mention the wall once. That only served to help him while he lost.

Clinton must make him explain these things and follow up even if the moderator (Anderson Cooper) won’t.

Even if Clinton doesn’t take all my advice, all she has to do is continue what she did the last debate to look at least able to hold office.

Donald Trump

Monday was terrible for Trump and his campaign no matter what his campaign perpetuates in the media. He was winning early on and then screwed himself up by letting everything Clinton said get to him personally.

He needs this next debate. Trump needs to do what then-Senator Barack Obama did in his first debate with former Gov. Mitt Romney — like so:

First, stay on the offensive. Trump is one of the best at repeating the same point, beating you into verbal submission and making himself look very strong. Going on the defensive doesn’t work — mainly because Trump can’t do that due to his past’s ridiculousness and idiocy.

Staying on the offensive makes Trump look like Trump, which is what attracted supporters to him.

Second, counterattack the Clinton Foundation. Every time Clinton brings up any of Trump’s various failures, especially when it comes to his companies, talk about her currently-under-investigation foundation.

Trump’s advisers should’ve told him to do this from the beginning. It will shift the momentum into Trump’s corner and, in turn, put Clinton on the defense — something she’s terrible at.

Third, watch the vice presidential debate because Mike Pence spun  Trump in a way that made him “kind of OK.” This is probably because Pence is the more level-headed of the two and has actual political experience.

Even if you don’t agree with Pence, he made Trump’s policies look somewhat reasonable. Trump needs to understand all the ins and outs of what made Pence likeable and a winner.

Finally, actually prep.

Sunday will be interesting as competitors have figured out how they match up on stage. We’ll wait on edge to see who has learned from the last debate and who will win one of the last chances to make an impression — positive or negative — on voters.

Senior staff columnist Jorden Smith is a political science junior and president of the College Republicans. He can be reached at [email protected]

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