The second presidential debate will be held this Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis.
While Trump and his surrogates tried to spin his first debate encounter with Hillary Clinton as a win, the consensus among analysts was that he got his clock cleaned. Not only did his poll numbers sink nationally, but he lost ground in many of the key battleground states he needs to win to get to the 270 electoral votes necessary to reach the White House.
Trump’s handlers are spreading the line that he will be a more prepared, polished debater this time around. Advice on how he can turn things around is popping up everywhere.
“Look and act calm,” advised Jo-Renee Formicola, a political science professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. “Be a gentleman. Smile.”
Republican pollster Frank Luntz believes that during the town-hall debate, Trump “needs to empathize and sympathize with the voters and forget that Clinton is standing next to him.”
There is a decent chance we may be treated to a more presidential performance by Trump in round two (well, at least temporarily!). Maybe Trump can replicate the smooth performance his running mate, Mike Pence, gave during the vice presidential debate earlier this week?
But Trump has shown that against a seasoned debater like Hillary Clinton, he will undoubtedly revert to form once she starts getting under his thin skin. Look for Trump to go “off script” and make some wild statements or crazy accusations against Clinton … the kind that will send some of his campaign staff packing!
Beyond the misplaced optimism of Trump’s people, some political observers are clearly delusional.
“He’s proven to be a quick study during the campaign and reports of Trump’s debate obituary could be greatly exaggerated,” said Aaron Kall, director of debate at the University of Michigan.
Kall noted that President Obama got negative reviews after his first debate against Mitt Romney in 2012, but then rallied in a town hall debate to change the trajectory of the race.
There is only one small problem with this Romney/Obama analogy.
In a memorable vice presidential debate between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle, the Democratic nominee told his opponent, after he had likened himself to JFK, “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
It is safe to say, Donald Trump is no Barack Obama.
The second verse could be worse than the first.
Photo | newsday.com