September 30, 2020

Presidential Debates Round1 - Draw

As much as I am in the MAGA camp, the best I can call the debate outcome was a draw.  Luckily, it's also the worst I can call it. Both men came across as unfriendly.  Yes it was kind of a brawl, but you can fight and still come across as likeable to the audience.  Neither man did that. Both scored some points with their base but likely not beyond that - be it with Independents or voters typically in favor of the other party.

It was a night of jabs, not haymakers, and perhaps that was by design. No one wanted to make a big mistake.  Joe Biden may have made some mistakes with his base but president Trump should not have stepped in to point it out because the left does not want to hear that from him. It effectively reduces the impact.  Another mistake on the president Trump side of the ledger was him interrupting Biden too frequently.  There were a few times that Biden looked like he had the rope to hang himself but Trump did not stand back and allow him to do so.

The strategy was clearly to rattle Biden with the interruptions, and that part appeared to work to some extent.  But the president did not allow the rattling to marinate and Biden to make mistakes.

All that aside, both sides probably proved their case to their bases, but not much more. Remember that Clinton eked out a first debate win over Trump in 2016 according to most of the media. This too may be more strategy.  Trump was better in the later debates and that may be the result of the decision to focus on rallies and face to face politicking.  And if the next two debates are more impactful for Trump, then a draw is perfectly fine. I'd expect to see a different president Trump in round 2.

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