The Trump debate decoded: He won, and he won big
With 24 hours having passed since the first presidential debate, it's becoming clear that Trump won in a big way. It wasn't an apparent victory, but it was a real one: he showed his base and ordinary Americans that he will always fight while forcing Biden to disavow both his hard-left base and the last of the old-fashioned Democrats who still support him.
Don't pay too much attention to the pessimistic pundits. The worriers worried, the haters hated, the ambivalent were ambivalent, the cheerleaders cheered. Personality may not be destiny, but it determines post-debates reviews. You have to understand the pundits' filters.
You should still enjoy the cheerleaders for Trump, though. Here are a few comments from others on the subject, many of whom dislike Trump:
- Adam Wren, Politico Magazine: "Trump is winning this debate."
- Andrew Sullivan: "Trump is dominating. That's the brutal truth. It's painful. So far."
- Monique Currie, WNBA: "Trump is winning this debate"
- Ryan Harris, former NFL player: "Trump won that debate. Hate it or love it."
- Tim Pool: "Even Biden laughs at Trump's jokes This is hilarious Trump knows how to entertain and that wins people over Its sales They won't remember what you said but they will remember how you made them feel"
- Kimberley Strassel, The Wall Street Journal: "1) There are two ways to think of debates. a) Did you excite/enthuse base? On this, Trump wins. He was consistent, and made the points that he is running on in this election--law/order; economy; D corruption in terms of FBI investigation/Hunter; handling of virus. #Debates2020"
My favorite metric is Trump's huge win among the Spanish-speaking Telemundo community:
— Daniel Garza (@danielggarza) September 30, 2020
It's not a scientific poll, but it says that Spanish-speakers, who probably did not catch all the words, responded to the candidates' presence. Trump was utterly dominant, including dominating Wallace. Trump doesn't take orders from po-faced moderators.
The world feels unstable and often very scary. Voters viscerally understand that Trump will be their champion. He will fight to the death to defend them. Biden, meanwhile, once equipped with a teleprompter, some good drugs, and an earpiece, will say, "Come on, man! Let me tell you about trying to kill Corn Pop with chain."
Trump also managed to expose what a nasty jerk Biden is. That matters. With Trump, we're used to it. From Biden, who poses as "Mr. Nice Everyman," it's jarring and ugly.
Here's what Trump did (and I'm indebted to Dan Bongino for explaining it): Trump went after his base with single-minded ferocity while forcing Biden to disavow his base.
At a rough estimate, Americans are 40% for Trump, 40% for Biden, and 20% up for grabs. Most candidates try to get half of their supporters to the polls and hope for 51% of the independent votes.
In this bizarre election year, Trump did something different: he wants to get 100% of his base to show up. He's helped by knowing that there are secret Trump-supporters among both the independents and the Democrats, people who have learned to ignore his bombast and focus on his extraordinary economic and foreign policy accomplishments. He made it clear that he'll govern in his second term as he did in first, only better.
Meanwhile, Trump forced Biden to declare himself (although Biden managed to avoid stating explicitly that he'll pack the Supreme Court, ending the American experiment). This is what Trump got Biden to say: "The party is me. Right now, I am the Democratic party." The Democrat party is a doddering old man who everyone knows was hopped up on Adderall to handle the debate.
"The Green New Deal is not my plan." First, this is a lie. Second, this is an atom bomb against the base, as it would be if Trump were to tell his base, "I'm going to tear down the wall."
"Nobody's going to build another coal-fired plant in America. No one's going to build another oil fire plant in America." What's that? Did I just hear Pennsylvania and West Virginia throw their weight to Trump?
"Antifa is an idea, not an organization." Tell that to those Americans — many of them Democrats — who saw "ideas" clad in black and spewing vile obscenities burn down their businesses and drive from the streets the police who keep their communities safe.
Trump gave his base red meat. Even those who disliked his style will vote for him. Meanwhile, Biden left his base with a sour taste in their mouths, knowing they're being used.
Your mission, which I hope you accept, is to go to the polls on November 3. None of this mail-in stuff. Vote in person, every one of you, and make it a straight Republican ticket from Trump down to the local dog-catcher.
Image: First presidential debate. YouTube screen grab.