President Trump’s first debate showdown with Chris Wallace could have gone a lot worse. Even though Wallace seemed determined to prop up the Democratic candidate, neither Wallace nor the other guy landed any fatal blows against Trump. The stand-in for the Democrats, a non-entity named Biden, didn’t necessarily look senile, but he didn’t look strong or competent either.
The first debate was roughly a draw. But fortunately, President Trump has ample room to improve, while the Chris Wallace moderated debate likely represented Biden’s ceiling. Here’s how President Trump can dominate the final debate on Thursday.
1. Hammer the corruption exposed in Hunter Biden’s recovered hard drive. This is, of course, a no-brainer, and Trump’s messaging on this issue so far has been superb. As covered by the NY Post in a series of explosive stories, the contents of Hunter Biden’s hard drive reveal widespread corruption within the Biden family, with Hunter essentially selling his father’s influence to the corrupt actors in Ukraine, Russia, and the Chinese Communist Party. Mayor Giuliani rightly invokes the Whitey Bulger mafia aspect of the operation by referring to the “Biden crime family.”
The President should press Joe Biden on whether he is the “Big Guy” referred to in an email with Hunter outlining an alleged payout scheme with a Chinese energy firm.
One email, dated May 13, 2017, and obtained by Fox News, includes a discussion of “remuneration packages” for six people in a business deal with a Chinese energy firm. The email appeared to identify Hunter Biden as “Chair / Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC,” in an apparent reference to now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co. [Fox News]
Joe’s pay-for-play mafia style corruption is the epitome of the swamp behavior that Trump ran against in 2016. It is the same ruling class corruption that sold out the American middle class to China, and sold out our foreign policy to the highest bidder in the military industrial complex. Joe Biden would in this sense be a return to normal — business as usual for the swamp, and more misery for the forgotten American.
2. Hit the big themes.
On more than one occasion during the first debate, President Trump hit Biden over issues that would be familiar to avid news consumers. He hit Biden for his academic record, and denounced the FBI’s promotion of the Russian collusion conspiracy theory. Those were both valid issues, but the goal for the debates is for Trump to improve his chances of reelection. Bringing up issues that only insiders understand doesn’t do that. In the final debate, Trump should pivot to broader themes and speak in slogans like he did in the 2016 campaign. President Trump is always at his strongest when he is discussing the big picture. His opponents can obfuscate and lie about details, but when the President forces them to debate core issues like the economy, war and peace, the border, patriotism, or law and order, he always comes out ahead.
If Trump is willing to articulate them, the themes are right there. Here are a few suggestions:
–Joe Biden is weak and incompetent. Biden’s physical infirmity is obvious, but more importantly he is a weak leader who would not be able to protect Americans. Biden is too weak and incompetent to protect American jobs. He signed NAFTA and he supported the TPP.
Biden is weak on Antifa and Black Lives Matter, who will take advantage of his incompetence to riot at will.
Biden is also too weak and incompetent to defy his own party’s extreme abortion-loving agenda, despite his claim to be a “practicing Catholic.” The Democrats went from the party of “safe, rare, and legal” to “SHOUT YOUR ABORTION.”
— Amelia Bonow (@ameliabonow) September 27, 2020
What kind of a practicing Catholic is too weak to stand up for his own faith?
Biden is also too weak to even own up to his own positions. He has disgracefully refused to say whether he will support Democratic efforts to pack the Supreme Court. Why? Because Biden is too cowardly to even say what he would do as president.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 1, 2020
Even Joe Biden’s corruption revealed in Hunter’s hard-drive underscores Joe’s weak character. Indeed, an under-explored aspect is just how the pay-to-play scheme Joe engaged in with his son was simply enabling the son’s destructive drug-addled lifestyle. Rather than put his foot down as a strong authority figure, Joe allowed his troubled son to make millions off his name — trading his father’s influence for money, and then in turn trading money for drugs and a destructive lifestyle.
The very same weakness that caused Joe to enable his son will result in Joe enabling our nation’s worst geopolitical rivals. It is the same weakness that will enable the most rabid and destructive forces of the radical left such as Kamala, AOC, and Illhan Omar. Joe Biden is not just weak, he is an enabler, and he is an enabler because he is weak.
-Joe Biden is a flip-flopper. Joe Biden has flip-flopped on just about every issue. He flip-flopped on the Green New Deal. He flip-flopped on Medicare for All. He flip-flopped on the Iraq War. He flip-flopped on federal funding for abortions (the Hyde Amendment). He won’t say whether he will pack the court. He won’t say whether he will get rid of the filibuster.
To paraphrase Joe Biden, here’s the deal. Biden’s flip-flopping actually helps him unless Trump ruthlessly holds him accountable. Biden’s strategic ambiguity allows him to be all things to all people. Far left liberals can convince themselves that Biden will support Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, packing the court, and ending the filibuster. Moderate Americans can convince themselves that Biden will hold the radicals at bay and oppose all of the above. The only way for Trump to take away Biden’s advantage of strategic ambiguity is to explain to the American people that Biden is a flip-flopper and therefore a typical politician who talks out of both sides of his mouth, and changes what he believes depending on the audience. But at the end of the day, a typical politician like Biden is too weak and incompetent to get anything done, and just does what his big donors tell him to do.
Imagine if Trump said this at the next debate: “I don’t know what you stand for Joe, because you’re a flip-flopper. You’ve flip-flopped on every issue, including the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, federal funding for abortion, and the War in Iraq. You’re a typical politician who will say whatever he needs to say to get elected. But at the end of the day, you don’t get anything done anyway, because you’re weak and incompetent, and totally controlled by Wall Street and the special interests who are funding your campaign.
He would win the election hands down. In the meantime, Trump would do well to use his Twitter account, media interviews, surrogates, and paid advertising to get the message out that Biden is an incorrigible flip-flopper.
This will create a dilemma for Biden. He will either have to take a firmer stand on the issues, which could jeopardize his electoral coalition, or he will be exposed to the electorate as just another weak and incompetent career politician.
–Joe Biden is a sellout. He bills himself as a boy from Scranton who has risen to the top of American politics. But Biden’s rise came on the backs of the people he left behind. Biden allied with Delaware’s predatory credit card giants to bolster his career. He stuck U.S. troops in one catastrophic war after another for no gain. For years, while China slowly grew into an existential threat to America, Biden downplayed the danger, while his son grew rich doing business with them.
–Joe Biden’s party is at war with America. Democrats are targeting statues of national heroes like Abraham Lincoln. They’re infesting our government and our schools with toxic race-baiting propaganda. They want to abolish law enforcement in our big cities. They want amnesty for illegal immigrants who will then be eligible for free health care. When they don’t get their way immediately, they burn our cities and then lie to the American people that the riots are “mostly peaceful.”
–The Trump Administration has put America first. Not only has the administration fixed bad trade deals and avoided wasteful foreign wars, it also has put America first at home by defending America’s history and institutions from extremists who want to burn them down.
2. Be patient and use the full two minutes to devastate Joe Biden.
President Trump clearly entered the first debate with a plan to constantly needle and disrupt Joe Biden with brief interruptions. This was likely an effort to keep the fading statesman off-balance and confused, and generate proof of Biden’s weak mental state. Unfortunately, Trump often did the opposite. By constantly interrupting Biden, Trump reduced the viewer’s rhetorical expectations for the debate. Biden rarely had to deliver more than a few sentences at a time, and could often fall back on simply insulting Trump. Even if a person thinks Biden lost the debate, nobody came away thinking he looked senile.
This time, Biden will have two minutes to speak at length, and the debate commission will mute the mic when the other candidate is speaking. It’s no guarantee that Biden will ever have a severe “old man moment” on the debate stage. But at least he will have to speak at length for two minutes with no interruption without losing his train of thought.
Awkward. MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle just had to help Joe Biden remember what he’s talking about after he loses his train of thought pic.twitter.com/5u49j8P9zU
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) September 26, 2020
This time, Trump will have to patiently wait before calmly shooting a zinger back at Biden, and he will have two minutes to do it.
3. Be ready for unfair questions, and use them to remind the American people that he is fighting against not just Joe Biden, but the entire crooked political and media establishment.
Chris Wallace was Trump’s real opponent in the first debate, and Joe Biden was merely a prop off to the side. During the Tuesday debate, Chris Wallace often disgracefully posed questions that simply took for granted the premises of the left. Wallace blamed “white supremacists” for violence in Kenosha so that he would have an excuse to downplay months of riots by the left. Wallace glossed over the left’s demented support for economically suicidal lockdowns. He peppered Trump with petty questions, including one about whether or not the president adequately supports mask usage. Wallace asked the president twice how much he paid in income taxes (Trump answered the question the first time), but he never followed up on Biden’s cowardly refusal to state his views on court-packing.
Of course, there’s no point in complaining. Biased questions and moderation are inevitable. In fact, it’s safe to assume that Kristen Welker will be even less fair towards Trump than Wallace was. Much like with dating, it is profoundly unsexy for a candidate to sound like a whiner. Instead, Trump should be ready to counterattack. If pressed on the fake issue of white supremacy, quickly dismiss it and strike back: “I’ve always condemned white supremacy, but why are you asking me about that, and not asking Biden about his supporters burning down Minneapolis?” If pressed on his taxes, which are irrelevant to national policy, ask why Biden hasn’t been forced to answer about packing the courts. Et cetera.
4. Don’t let the moderator set the terms of the debate.
When Chris Wallace wasn’t asking terrible and unfair questions, he repeatedly cut the president off and changed the subject at key moments. Most unforgivably, when Biden bluntly refused to answer the question on court-packing, and Trump objected, Wallace simply ended the topic and moved on.
Chris Wallace’s job was to separate the two fighters whenever Donald Trump looked like he might be about to land a knockout blow on the frail old stand-in opposing him.
While Trump should interrupt less, he should be ready to insist on making his argument at key moments. Sometimes, even a brief “excuse me” can work wonders. Trump himself showed as much in his final debate against Hillary Clinton in 2016:
When President Trump has a point that needs to be made, he will have two minutes to make it confidently and thoroughly, which should be more impactful than an interruption that peters out after one sentence.
One excellent way to check Kristen Welker’s overreach is to arrive with a list of dishonest or biased stories that NBC News has published. They won’t be hard to find: Almost every news outlet is guilty of defaming Kyle Rittenhouse and the Covington boys, downplaying the summer’s BLM riots, or suggesting it was racist to worry about the coronavirus in its early days. The American press routinely disgraces itself, and just about everybody knows it. President Trump would do well to remind Americans how bad they can be.
5. Be more positive.
Despite the enormous obstacles put in his path by Washington and members of his own administration, President Trump has tremendous accomplishments to tout from his four years in office. The press has steadfastly avoided covering these accomplishments. The final debate offers the president his best chance to inform the public about how much better off they are today than four years ago.
In the first debate the president bragged about the economy of his first three years. That economy was a real achievement, but with the global lockdown recession still mauling America, boasting about the overall economy is a tough sell. Instead, the president should emphasize more specific economic successes that weren’t reversed by lockdowns. He can brag about ending endless wars, replacing NAFTA, backing out of TPP, crushing ISIS, getting nominated for three Nobel Peace Prizes, finally confronting China and reducing the trade deficit, and making America a net exporter of oil by removing job-crushing regulations.
The president has plenty of other domestic achievements to tout as well. Critical race theory has been driven out of the federal government (the president could read some choice excerpts from a radical presentation to drive home the value of this development). The border wall with Mexico is actually being built, and new diplomatic arrangements have drastically cut down on the number of new arrivals. And despite not dropping U.S. troops into every godforsaken corner of the globe, no major terrorist attacks have occurred on U.S. soil since 2016.
President Trump can also remind the American people that Biden has been endorsed by just about every warmonger. Nearly every neocon and neoliberal architect of the failed and disastrous wars in the Middle East has gone on record supporting Biden. Furthermore, Biden supported the failed Iraq invasion.
Meanwhile, under Trump, ISIS is destroyed. Almost all U.S. troops are home from Iraq and Afghanistan. No new wars have started. Given four more years, President Trump could completely fulfill the foreign policy platform he ran on in 2016.
The lines write themselves: “I ended the Iraq War, a disastrous war Joe Biden voted for. Now, the people who love war, people like Bill Kristol, love Joe Biden. I wonder why?”
“In 1993, Joe Biden approved the disastrous NAFTA trade deal. When Joe Biden ran in 2008, he and Obama promised to replace NAFTA. They did nothing for eight years. I replaced NAFTA right away, and even Biden admits it’s better than NAFTA.”
“People were coming into our schools and our government offices, and telling people that their country was racist, that all people of a certain color were racist. It was disgusting, and so we put a stop to it. Now Joe Biden wants it back, because his allies despise this country and its history.”
Trump has all the tools he needs to crush Biden on the debate stage, no matter how hostile the moderator is. If he can prepare properly, nothing will stop the president from winning the final debate and then winning the election.
Revolver News is dedicated to news aggregation and analysis. We are dedicated to providing Americans of all backgrounds and political persuasions with timely, common-sense, accurate and compelling information. Be sure to check out our news feed.
Please be aware that although we do not like to censor comments, we reserve the right to remove any that are uncivil, vulgar, or completely off-topic.