Big Red Car here on the eve of Debate 2016 and, frankly, getting very excited for the first Presidential debate at Hofstra University to be moderated by Lester Holt of NBC’s Nightly News program.
Monday, 26 September 2016, 9:30 PM Central Time.
It will be broadcast on every channel imaginable plus livestreamed.
In case you have just landed here from Mars, the debaters will be Hillary R Clinton and Donald J Trump (female listed first as a matter of chivalry, y’all).
HRC is considered a bit of a policy wonk. She’s a lawyer. It would be fair that she will be prosecuting the case for her and against DJT.
DJT, on the other hand, is not a policy wonk and will be, well, Donald.
HRC is a plodder while DJT is a brawler. There is a huge difference in style.
The debate prep
HRC’s been taking a few days off to prepare for the debates and has a cast of thousands assisting her. She had the following to say:
“I am going to do my very best to communicate as clearly and fearlessly as I can in the face of the insults and the attacks and the bullying and the bigotry that we have seen coming from my opponent. … I can take that kind of stuff. I have been at this, I understand it is a contact sport.”
She is working with a cast of thousands including “Hollywood” debate coaches.
DJT is doing some prep, to be sure, but he is working with the likes of Rudy Guliani, Chris Christie, Roger Ailes, and Kellyanne Conway. No big time debate coaches though Roger Ailes is a formidable chap.
I think it would be fair to say that HRC wants to come across as measured and reasonable. She is a lawyer and a policy wonk — how could she otherwise? She also wants to cast DJT as the wild card, the temperament issue. DJT has to give the audience a reason to nullify this assertion, as he has very effectively recently.
DJT is a brawler and there is a real chance he may arrive in a cape with a mask and turn it into Wrestlemania. Watch the prior Republican debates. I am also certain that Kellyanne Conway will have him on a pretty tight rope and Roger Ailes will make him understand what the camera sees.
Still, it could become ugly as DJT is undoubtedly ready to visit HRC’s email, health, Bill Clinton, Libya, Middle East, Clinton Foundation slush fund, Benghazi issues. Hold on, folks. This could be a bumpy ride. He runs the risk of being perceived as a bully and she could come off as a victim.
Not sure being anointed a victim is the best strategy but who really knows?
I give the game day decision making advantage to DJT. He is good in the clinches. HRC is a bit wooden and stiff. She’s not Miss Congeniality but she probably knows the name of the Prime Minister of WTFistan.
I give the prep advantage to HRC because she will be exquisitely prepared. The question will be whether the debate becomes a quiz or not.
Here are the Big Red Car’s predictions (please insert your tongue in your cheek).
1. The debate audience will be huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. Bigly. It will not top 100,000,000 but this would be a 70% improvement over any earlier debate audience. This is attributable to the widespread coverage, the advent of live streaming, the increasing impact of the Internet.
Frame of reference: 2004 GWB v John Kerry — 62,500,000 viewers
2008 Obama v McCain — 52,400,000 viewers
2012 Obama v Romney — 67,200,000
Here is the big surprise: 1980 Jimmy Carter v Ronald Reagan — 80,600,000 viewers. People forget this one. It is also much more significant as the population of the US in 1980 was 227,000,000 v 320,000,000 today.
2. HRC will have a few “zingers” up her sleeve. They will be “unrehearsed” and “spontaneous” — five, four, three, two, one — here comes the spontaneity.
3. DJT will go ugly on an ape on HRC. No reason I can put my finger on, just a feeling. He will unload on her corruption, the Middle East, Bill Clinton, the emails. You got it right — DJT goes ugly early.
4. Lester Holt will be pretty fair but he will get Matt Lauer-ed nonetheless.
5. The entire Presidential Debate panel of moderators is rigged: Lester Holt (NBC News), Martha Raddatz (ABC News and a huge DJT hater. Frankly, she’s a shill and will be a disaster in her obviousness.), Anderson Cooper (CNN and another hater.) and Chris Wallace (FOX News, who will be bending over backwards to be tough on DJT to ensure he doesn’t get called on the whole FAUX News thing.)
I am no fan of the moderators, thinking there is not a single person amongst them who has ever voted for a Republican. I don’t even get why we use news folks as moderators.
6. One of the spouses will make a big impression on the audience.
7. HRC will have a health episode. Ninety minutes under the lights will take its toll. The woman is not well. [Big Red Car, I must protest this meanness on your part. You’ve been pretty even handed until now, but this is beyond the pale. Shame on you, BRC.]
So, there you have it, folks. The Presidential debate on Monday.
Bottom line it, Big Red Car
OK, dear reader, here it is — whoever emerges with the superior performance from this debate on Monday will be your next President. It will be either a 68-year old woman or a 70-year old man. I promise y’all. Huge stakes for all — the debaters and y’all.
When the first televised debate — JFK v Richard Nixon — the candidates were how old?
JFK — 43
Tricky Dick — 47
1960, 72,000,000 viewers though this was a Nielsen estimate and, therefore, suspect. Still, that’s a big crowd particularly since the population of the US was 181,000,000.
This was the first televised debate and more than 6% of the electorate said the debate was the sole reason they voted for JFK. People forget how close this election was — 49.7% for JFK and 49.5% for Nixon. Kennedy, of course, stole the election in Chicago and South Texas, but that’s a subject for another day, no?
JFK prepared for the debate by sunning himself on the roof of his hotel while Ted Sorenson worked him with notecards. Later, when Sorenson went looking for him, JFK was sleeping covered by notecards. Go figure.
Nixon looked terrible, having been under the weather with the flu and having a five o’clock shadow that made him look like a crazy man. It was particularly damaging because JFK was tanned and handsome and smooth.