Saturday, September 24, 2016

Donald Trump is an Alpha Male, and Lester Holt is a Nerd

By Kyle Smith

Hillary Clinton is going to be armed with facts, logic and policy chops at tomorrow night’s debate.

It’ll be like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Unless Donald Trump has been hitting the briefing books and spending his evenings perusing back issues of National Affairs and The Economist — hey, the man has surprised us before! — it seems unlikely that he will have as many facts and details at his command as Clinton. And it doesn’t matter. Nobody comes out of a debate saying, “Wow, Senator Blutarsky had an impressively detailed answer on how to save 11 percent at the Department of Housing and Urban Development!”

Debates are about style, comportment, authority, the occasional zinger and the dreaded gaffe.

They’re about the direction of the country and who will steer us down the right path.

They’re about matching the emotional temperature of the voters. Now more than ever, they’re also about sizing up which candidate would be less unbearable to see on TV every night for the next four years.

So Trump could win a debate, or all of them, without getting unnecessarily acquainted with facts.

Factual command could even hurt Hillary, if she starts to sound like a lawyer-bureaucrat-weasel: Remember how everyone hated Al Gore when he droned on (though not during a debate) about how “no controlling legal authority” had forbidden him to make fundraising calls from the White House?

 Presidential debate expected to be the most-watched ever
Presidential debate expected to be the most-watched ever
Trump may not have a lot of facts, but he has a lot of slick moves: He knows debate kung fu.

Monday night’s moderator, Lester Holt, like most journalists, probably lives in a media bubble, meaning he will be out to impress his friends and colleagues with tough, probing questions.

But his friends know far more about policy details than the median voter.

Moreover, the median voter doesn’t like to be reminded that he doesn’t know that much, and might well take Trump’s side if the questions are too picayune.

If Holt tries to catch Trump in a gotcha question like, “Mr. Trump, you say you have a plan to get the economy moving again but can you even estimate the size of the US economy within 2 trillion dollars?” Trump could easily win the exchange by turning the question into an attack on the current state of journalism:

Read the rest here.

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