Friday, July 29, 2016

Will there be any Clinton vs. Trump TV debates? (A bit of idle speculation.)

We know Melania Trump swiped part of her speech from Michelle Obama. Now
 there’s prima facie evidence that Donald Trump got his political philosophy 
from Tony the Tiger. But that’s not what this post is about.

Somebody in the Trump camp must be sweating bullets.

It's  quite nearly a given that opposing Presidential nominees are expected  to debate each other on television. Which leads me to wonder what’s going through the minds of people at Trump headquarters.

No, I’m not talking about the mind of Donald Trump himself. I’m sure he thinks he can walk in front of the cameras, call his opponent “crooked Hillary” a few hundred times, and promise he’ll be like Tony the Tiger of Sugar Frosted Flakes fame, and make America grrrrreat! again. And that will be that.

But less bloated heads in Trumpland must assuredly know better. As we saw during her speech on Thursday night, Hillary is calm, confident, knows her stuff in depth, is not likely to be rattled easily, and has a fat dossier on Trump.  

So for openers, if Hillary, or questioners from the press ask Trump a single “how” question, his goose is is deep fried in oil sludge.

“How will you pay for that when you also promise to cut taxes, Donald? What government waste are you specifically talking about? How much will this program cost and how did you calculate that, Donald? Will you really give nukes to Saudi Arabia and risk the resultant mid-Est holocaust? Will you actually permit your pal Putin to march in and take Poland and Hungary? Nice tie you’re wearing Donald...why did you have it made in China?”

And so on. Not to mention all the tangible horrors waiting for Hillary to pull out of Trump’s past and demand that he answer to, from the Trump University Follies to stiffed carpenters and plumbers, to bankrupt casinos. And what’s Trump specifically going to counter-punch with other than “she got $600,000 for a speech,” and “Don’t believe her, she’s crooked, folks.” 

The one danger is that Trump will try to shout down anything Hillary says. But that can be, and should be addressed in advanced of the debate. It ought to be stipulated that during each candidate’s turn to talk, the other candidate’s microphone shall be turned off by a neutral time keeper. In fact, I like that idea too much, that in the name of civil discourse I think this rule should be extended to all political debates, not to mention all those migraine-inducing Shouting Head Festivals on CNN.

But back to the Clinton-Trump debate:

I can’t imagine anyone in the Trump camp who wants the disagreeable duty, after the first debate if there is one, of handing The Donald a bloody plastic bag with something horrifying in it and saying, “Mr. Trump, Hillary said I should give this to you for a souvenir.” 

The Donald will of course make a face and ask, “What is that?” And the Trump staffer will have to say, “Those are your testicles, sir.” Whereupon The Donald will discover for the first time that during the debate he lost something without even realizing it.

So I’m saying there’s a better than fair chance that Trump’s handlers will find an excuse not to let him debate. Any excuse. It might be a flareup of the old “foot thing” (whichever foot he decides to remember it was) that kept him out of the military. Or it might be the petulant announcement that “I refuse to even be in the same room with Crooked Hillary.” It might  even be, “the press is so biased against me that I can’t debate her.” 

Nobody will be fooled, but I’m guessing that Trump will use any escape hatch he can find to  run like a scared rabbit. And if he doesn’t run from the first debate, he even more likely will before the second. 

You say his ego is far too inflated to miss a an opportunity to appear on national TV and demonstrate that, no matter what anybody says, vulgarity is not dead? Just remember that what’s really inflated is just another gas bag. And the more inflated they are, the more easily and louder they pop.

My advice to Hillary: declare some debate dates, get the network time reserved, and if Trump doesn’t show up, debate from your side and let the camera point to an empty chair when it’s Trump’s turn. 

As for me, if there ever actually is a Clinton-Trump debate, or two, or more, I intend to sit in front of the television set with two bowls. One will contain a heaping serving of popcorn. The other will be filled to the brim with schadenfreude.


Jerry Critter said...

We may have one debate. I don't think he will have the guts to go three rounds with her.

KenRight said...

You might or might not be right.
Trump should certainly review some Buchanan columns since the fall of the Iron Curtain with many strategic and ethical arguments showing why NATO should have been disbanded immediately. So as to avoid the war Clinton wants to risk.
(See Steven Cohen at The Nation for similar arguments from the left.)

RAM said...

30 years ago, the League of Women Voters asked me to be the timekeeper for a local candidates' night for those running for the school board, village board, and (I think) the library board. I set up my darkroom clock (anyone remember those?) with it's large dial, and borrowed a bullhorn from the fire department that had a really cool siren setting. The rule was 5 minutes for opening statements, and then written questions from the audience, with candidates being given 5 minutes to respond. I seem to remember it was the third candidate who decided to ignore the 5 minute opening statement limit, at which point I hit the siren, and you probably won't be surprised to learn that there were no more problems with candidates overstaying their verbal welcome. I did several more after that, and found that word quickly got around that I was totally ruthless with the time thing. Don't see why debate moderators couldn't do the same thing. Except without the darkroom clock.

Raymond Smith said...

The Putincandidate Trump might try to debate but will flounder around like a bloated beached whale when asked for any and I mean any specifics.

William F. Glennon said...

He won't debate.
He didn't release his tax returns, and nothing happened.

Don the Con doesn't do norms.
Hell, he barely does laws.

Unknown said...

Donald is too lazy to cram for these debates. He's got by with bluster and insults and thinks that the same tactics will work against Hillary.

Never Ben Better said...

It's true Der Trumpenfuehrer doesn't do norms, but the MSM does expect certain rituals in the presidential election process to take place in some form or another; they build their narratives around these stages, in fact. Now that we're past Act 1, the primaries, and Act 2, the conventions, Act 3, the campaigning, has its stock scenes, and the debates are supposed to provide pivotal moments. The media will not be happy to have that part of the narrative taken away from them.

I can see a disgruntled MSM, pissed at losing the drama (not to mention rating$$$$), and bored with the Crooked Hillary narrative, so tedious and stale, deciding to turn the wolf pack loose on all that fresh meat hanging off Trump's bloated carcass -- especially if he keeps bullying and belittling reporters.

Rich said...

Here's what I'd do if I were the Trump camp. 1) Demand 6 debates ("Most ever! HUUUUGE!") 2) Demand (unconditionally) they all be on Fox, hosted by Sean Hannity ("because Fox is the only unbiased news network out there!") Naturally the Dems will balk, so Trump gets a twofer -- he's off the hook for actually, you know, debating, and he can mock "Crooked Hillary" for being too scared to face his Almighty Trumpositude. As with all things in this campaign, this isn't aimed at everyone, just loyal legionnaires of Orange Julius Ceasar.

enif said...

tony the tiger or cowerdly lion?

Yastreblyansky said...

Lol. I think Rich may win the prediction contest.

Jim Snyder said...

The dates have already been announced:

Sept 26
Oct 4 (Veep debate)
Oct 9
Oct 10

According to this:

the schedule was released on 23 Sept 2015

Green Eagle said...

I'd leave that second bowl empty if I were you. Eat from the first one while Hillary is talking and use the other one when Trump incudes the popcorn to come back up.

Yastreblyansky said...

I think you were really onto something here, Crank. He's already trying to weasel out of the schedule, alleging a letter from the NFL complaining about the schedule--except NFL denies they sent a letter.

Jerry Critter said...

He would probably perfer scheduling the debates at 3am when no one is watching.