On the nightly news they were saying that The Donald was looking for debate guidance from online. Unfortunately they didn’t say from where or how ( probably a tweet? ). Their web site didn’t have anything on the top level about it, and I’m up to cook dinner soon so don’t have time to search. That means I’m just going to put my little bit of advice here.
The Only Advice I’d Give
Everything else is elaboration on just one point:
An election is about electing the national Dad (or Mom). Right now you are seen in many circles as the “grumpy unstable Dad” who’s a bit mean. Nobody likes a spanking… Hillary is coming across as the whining yelling angry Mom. Nobody likes a yelling angry Mom. So your main job in the debate is just to come across as the Dad I see when you are talking with your own kids.
Kind, understanding, proud of them, and generally a guy I’d like to have a beer with.
Talk to us like you talk to them.
Hillary will be trying everything she can to get you into attack mode. You want to let here get ever more shrill and ever more frustrated and become more of the Yelling Mom. For that, humor and embarrassment work better than attack. Remember Mr. Reagan’s “Now there you go again…” with a sly smile and his “I’ll not let my opponents youth and inexperience be an issue” when asked about age. Basically, be seen as having some fun with the debate, not working hard at it, and certainly not being Angry Dad With A Belt.
Yes, folks want a strong Dad. One who can take care of the neighborhood bully for them and rescue them when they get the car stuck in the sand… but they want that Dad to not overtly chastise them in front of their friends for being out at the river in that sand when they were supposed to be somewhere else. Show them you are that Dad. Strong, firm, and understanding…
When someone asks your Dad “What’s the Magna Carta?” and he doesn’t know, they don’t want some lame half attempt at making something up. They want him to be comfortable in his own skin and know his limitations. To say “We had that in 8th grade history, but I don’t remember it any more. Is it relevant? If so, I review it.” Simple statement of fact, not flustered by not-knowing, happy to admit the same human limitations we all have. It makes Dad human, and thus accessible. Then the “I’ll learn it if / when I need it” is reasonable to most of use as we’ve all forgotten what it was too and don’t see how it is relevant to us right now either.
So don’t be afraid to say “That sounds like a policy wonk issue. I’d hire a Policy Wonk to work it.” The crowd will love it.,.
So that’s my advice. All of it.
I’ll be rooting for you…