I watched the first 2020 presidential debate, and Trump did not do what he had to do as an incumbent president. He acted like he is still a long shot challenger and that was a big miss om his part. But he does have a chance to turn it around in the next two debates.
Before I go into what he needs to do, here are the reasons why Trump did not do well:
1) Trump did not sound, look and act presidential
This was the easy part, and he couldn't accomplish that. Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all lost their first debate when they ran for re-election, but they all looked presidential. That allowed them to turn it around on second and third debates. Trump may have been angry that he had to be there, but he had to show respect for the position that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln held. He acted like a WWE wrestler at a presidential debate.
2) Trump did not do much counter-attacking
Trump went on the attack right from the beginning. That is not what he had to do. He had to take punches and look for his spots in the debate and counter attack and walk away with a draw. That would have been a big win for him. Now he has to attack that will not make him look presidential and the format for the next debate is not conducive for attack style he displayed in the first debate.
3) Trump had to defend his record
That may be the main reason why he stuck with his attack strategy. Unless he was willing to apologize for 7 million infections and over 200,000 deaths. Instead, he was blaming Joe Biden for what happened under his watch. He had to address his record head on rather than being defensive.
4) Trump did not give his vision for second term
This is what he had to do, at the least, in the debate. He has no clue why he wants to remain president. What is he going to do that he has not done during his first term?
5) Trump could not change
You are how you debate. Trump showed he does not follow the rules and thinks he can do anything he wants. Joe Biden didn't even have to say that. Trump did the selling for Biden. At the end, Biden outsold the greatest salesman the world has ever known without even being that good in the debate. Just think of that. Trump showed that he has no self-awareness and could not change. He was given ample of opportunity by the moderator and he wanted to blow up the debate and succeeded.
Trump will struggle in the next two debate formats. He will have a hard time connecting with ordinary Americans in the next debate, a town hall format. Trump has a hard time being empathetic, which will be needed since he will have to look at the people who are asking questions. The third debate is about foreign policy. That is Joe Biden's expertise. Biden can go very deep. The bad news for Trump is that it is going to be the least-watched debate.
Winning Strategy for Trump to Adopt in the Next Two Debates
The biggest problem Trump has in 2020 election is that he won the 2016 election. He did everything to lose that election and carved out an electoral college win and lost the popular vote by close to 3 million votes. As we know that success is a bad teacher. He is doing everything again to lose the election, hoping that his base shows up and the Democrats will stay home. If that does not work, then create doubt and let the courts decide like they did in 2000. But a better strategy is to do well in the next two debates since he has such a low bar that if he just not make faces, maintains his composure and be polite to Joe Biden and the moderator, he will win. No one will care what he says.
He must answer questions below rather than blame, obfuscate, or deflect. If he is going to take credit for things, then he must also accept the blame. He was the only president we had for the last four years. He must look like he is willing to live by the slogan that "Buck Stops Here." If he does not do that, the election will come down to---to put it bluntly---racist America vs. non-racist America.
1) What is his vision for the next four years regarding good jobs, health care, China, climate change, and deficit/debt?
2) Why the US has 4% of the world population but 20% of deaths? What went wrong? Why should we trust him that he can fix this?
3) Why is the country so divided over race and justice and how he plans to bring the country together
4) Why can't he release his tax returns to see if he has not committed fraud and who he owes money to?
5) How has his signature achievement, tax cuts, and trade deals, have helped ordinary Americans
6) Why should people believe that he cares about the Constitution, Democracy, Justice, Facts, and Decency?
7) Why is he the only modern president who has ever gotten asked by the media to denounce white supremacist groups?
Jay Oza is an author, speaker, executive coach. He makes people thrive on high stakes stage whether it's for a job interview, a sales presentation or a high-stakes speech. He is the author of a practical book Winning Speech Moments: How to Achieve Your Objective with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. You can get this book on Amazon for 99 cents for a limited time. Please download the free speech checklist that you can use to help you create a winning speech for any situation.
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