I won’t be watching tonight – it’s a time zone thing. I’ll catch the highlights in the morning. Maybe.
Tonight’s second, and last US presidential debate is crucial.
The rules have changed. It will be tougher for Donald Trump to talk over Joe Biden like he did in the first debate. And, given social distancing rules, he won’t be able to physically stalk his opponent on stage as he did with Hillary Clinton in 2016.
For Trump this is his last chance to make Biden look like a poor choice. Trailing in the polls, he needs to change a few voters’ minds tonight. That is, of course, assuming the polls reflect reality. Someday soon I’ll tell you why they might not.
Trump, like his Liberal counterpart to the north, seems to have a Teflon coating. No scandal seems to hurt his popularity with his followers, no matter how disgusting his actions.
With Biden, as with Clinton, look for a sustained attack on his record. Biden has been around Washington for decades. Like any politician, during that time he has made his share of mistakes. Make no doubt about it – the Republicans have a list, and Trump will have memorized it.
As for Trump’s blunders, also many, he’ll just revert to his “fake news” mantra. He’s said it so often that no-one really pays attention, but his followers accept whatever he says.
The strategy tonight is simple. The Republicans want Trump to be Trump. The party establishment figures they can get their people out to the polls. What they want Trump to do is make Americans doubt that Biden can do the job so that Democrats stay home instead of voting.
Which makes Biden’s task simple, in theory. He just has to appear presidential. That’s easy to say, less easy to do when the television lights are on and Donald Trump is being outrageous.
It could be great political theatre. Trump knows the polling numbers, even if he dismisses them as fake news. He knows he needs a convincing win tonight, if only to keep team morale up.
I expect Biden will be rather uptight and nervous. As the perceived frontrunner, it could be argued he has the most to lose tonight.
If Biden loses on Nov. 3, I suspect that tonight’s debate may be regarded as the turning point. I’ve almost convinced myself I should stay up and watch it live.