US presidential election 2020 debates are bound to be downright dirty and break every rule in the book.
The US presidential debates are the last feature on the political calendar, and a final opportunity for Donald Trump and Joe Biden to make their case to the people ahead of the election. Here’s what Donald Trump and Joe Biden need to do to win.
The first US presidential election 2020 debate will be held on September 29th at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. It will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News.
In some ways, televised debates are an anachronism, with declining relevance. In an age of hyper political tribalism, there is a shrinking number of persuadable voters, and the debates have lost their influence. In decades past, presidential debates were critical, and could sway elections.
The US presidential election 2020 debates are going to get downright dirty and we’ll witness Trump and Biden stooping to an all-time low.Deepak Kaistha | Editor-in-Chief | DKODING Media Inc.
The first such encounters, in 1960, between John Kennedy and then Vice-President Richard Nixon, altered the state of the race. Kennedy, telegenic and handsome, appeared calm and composed on television, while Nixon, sweating and with a five o’clock shadow, looking around furtively and casting uncertain looks at Kennedy, seemed shifty and out of sorts. Testament to the power of the new medium of television —
Those who listened to the debates on the radio generally considered Nixon to have won, whereas those who tuned in to watch on TV gave the edge to Kennedy.
Watch: How JFK’s Clever TV Strategies helped him win the Election
The Ronald Reagan and President Jimmy Carter Debate
In 1980, there was a solitary debate between Ronald Reagan and President Carter. Neither candidate had comported themselves or appealed greatly to the American public during the campaign, and the Carter strategists had spent much of their time trying to frame Reagan as an impulsive and reckless warmonger.
During the televised debate, Reagan was able to appear sensible and engaging, and his closing, asking the American public if they were better off than they were four years ago,’ served to finally frame the election in a succinct and ultimately decisive way.
Watch: The 1980 US presidential election debate
In 1992, Bill Clinton was able to exude empathy and relatability, and in 2008, Barack Obama was able to convey sufficient focus, judgement and intellect to account for any wavering concerns about his relative lack of experience.
Watch: First 2008 presidential election debate
Both Trump and Biden Face Pitfalls in the Upcoming US Presidential Election 2020 Debates
Firstly, Trump isn’t going to change. The President’s character, personality, techniques of deflection and antagonism will be on predictable display. Under the guidance of Kellyanne Conway, in 2016, the then candidate was able to find and display a general amount of discipline prior to and during the debates. He wasn’t especially great, in fact, most Americans felt he lost all three debates against Clinton; but what mattered, beyond that, was a general sense of viability – that the debates would act as a kind of permission slip for voters to entrust him with authority. In recent history, with base politics, losing debates is not decisive. It was generally considered that John Kerry outperformed George W. Bush in all three of their performances, but Bush ultimately won re-election.
Trump has an opportunity to use his caustic and belligerent instincts effectively against Joe Biden. Although not always accurate, and often crass and repetitive, Trump can nonetheless devote his energy, strategically, to wearing the 77 year old former Vice President down by interrupting, contesting, and incessantly being contentious and provoking, techniques that, cumulatively, might sap his opponent’s focus and energy, and create the circumstances for a lapse or spell of fatigue.
Similarly, he might provoke a spontaneous counter from Biden, which might be awkward, as there have been in the recent past, for instance, when, during a lively exchange on a podcast, he exclaimed, “look, if you don’t vote for me you ain’t black.” Into the last exchanges of an hour-and-a-half long debate, a prolonged spell of agitation from Trump could create the circumstances for something similar; especially if Biden is frustrated and incredulous at what he is hearing. Democratic supporters – and operatives – will be on edge until the final minute of the third debate.
Watch: How Joe Biden’s “look, if you don’t vote for me you ain’t black” comment unfolded
How Joe Biden Will Most Likely prevail – And the Consequences for the Election
Biden’s strength, and the way in which DKODING predicts he will ultimately win the debates, will be in the counter. In 2008, during his debate with Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Biden showed excellent control throughout.
They cancelled each other out in their answers to the general questions, but Biden prevailed on the counter, smoothly breaking down his opponent’s statistics, assertions and evidence, with a commendable marshalling of facts and memorization of material.
He did this to a similar, albeit less conspicuous extent against Paul Ryan four years later. In his debates against Donald Trump, the outcome will hinge on his ability to debunk, defuse and expose the President’s accusations and assertions in real time – a feat that will be daunting, considering the avalanche of slanted and demagogic rhetoric likely to come his way.
Not only will he have to convey the same extent of memorization, he will be in the somewhat odd position of having to remember not to devote too much of his time to countering his opponent, at the expense of laying out his own agenda.
He must also restrain his emotions to a certain extent. Al Gore, the Democratic nominee in 2000, tried to belittle his opponent, George W. Bush, with a steady stream of eyerolls and heavy sighs. This backfired, as the viewing public found the behavior distracting and condescending. Biden will be able to get away with far more expressions of exasperation than Gore, but he mustn’t overdo it, or allow himself to seem flustered or excitable, or at his wits end. He will have to strike the right balance between incredulity and composure.
Biden’s strength, and the way in which DKODING predicts he will ultimately win the debates, will be in the counter.
In tandem with this strategy of real-time fact-checking and staking a victory on the counter, Biden will have an opportunity – perhaps the first in four years – to level accusations and criticisms at the President for two minutes at a time, without too much interruption. President Trump has not experienced this throughout his four years in the White House, and it is likely to frustrate him. Presidents often tend to be rattled during a first debate, because they have become accustomed to deference from staff, adoring campaign crowds, and constrained interviews of a comparatively short duration. Barack Obama was famously caught off guard by Mitt Romney during their first encounter in 2012, losing convincingly.
Watch: Best Moments of First Barack Obama/Mitt Romney Debate
Given his ego, and loathing of criticism, it may be Trump, in the end, who is the one to lose his composure, especially under the pressure of mounting counters to everything he says. After all, in 2016 he didn’t have a record to defend. Now, he does.
US presidential elections 2020 could be a blind and dirty pursuit of power witnessing Trump and Biden hit each other below the belt.