Saturday, October 8, 2016

Can Trump stay on track in Sunday's town hall debate?

Scriber predicts not. Greg Sargent tells us why This video of Trump talking to a voter worried about jobs should worry Republicans.

... staying subdued is not the same thing as staying focused. And it seems plausible that the specific format of the second debate could play to a different Trump weakness: his tendency to ramble incoherently and go off on multiple tangents that are not only off topic but are often about himself.

For a preview of what this might look like, check out this video of Trump answering a voter’s question about jobs at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last night:

Check out Sargent's post for the video. Summary follows.

Asked by a recent college graduate who is struggling to find work how Trump’s plans would help him, Trump got started by launching into a monologue about the heat in the room that lasted a full 30 seconds. Note that during that ramble, Trump also managed to segue into a complaint about “dishonest” media coverage that had portrayed him as “sweating” at a different previous event.

Trump did then spend a solid minute reiterating his message about trade and about how he’ll stop companies like Apple from manufacturing parts of the iPhone in multiple other countries (presumably through Trumpian tariffs). But then, at a moment when he intended to extol the greatness of the people of this country, he veered off once again into a discussion of how big the crowds were at his rallies, and then into a discussion of how those crowds were bigger than those at Bernie Sanders’s rallies, and from there into still another discussion, of how Sanders “made a deal with the Devil” by endorsing Hillary Clinton. When Trump finally found his way back to his trade message, he wrapped up with only the most cursory nod to the person who had originally asked the question.

Trump apparently means to beat Apple into submission by igniting a global trade war - or worse.

The first debate also gave candidates two minutes to respond. But this Sunday’s format might actually make things worse for Trump. Many viewers will be attuned not just to Trump’s answers, but to how Trump interacts with his questioner and whether he is speaking directly to that person’s concerns and anxieties about the future. If Trump goes off in different directions — never mind whether he talks about himself and his own greatness, which would be even worse — that could look more problematic in the context of an exchange with individual voters who are looking to hear Trump address their problems.

If you view the 3-minute video, you will see why Trump in no way spoke directly to the questioner.

Trump's handlers have about 36 hours to shape him up. They have to defeat the interaction of nature and nurture which determines the character, instincts, and conditioned reflexes that define The Donald. Good luck with that.

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