The fundamental problem, in my opinion, is that Trump doesn’t know or just can’t debate. He has yet to win a presidential debate in two elections.
He was known for some of the most embarrassing shouting matches with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican primary. People still remember how he stood right behind Hillary with a gesticulating brood in the second debate of the “town hall” in 2016.
The problem is, Trump’s only mode of public communication is to “sell”, not to debate. It’s all in the marketing discourse: it’s going to be “really great”. ” You will love. “We are doing a great job.” “We have very, very good people. Everything Trump says or does is aimed at showing you why you should trust what the CEO is doing.
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And because of that, he has immense difficulty dealing with the premises and the argument. Even when he took turns with Biden, he couldn’t lay out in the allotted time things that any reasonable debater should have. For example, Biden’s claim that Trump is responsible for the economic collapse; that Republicans own the closures; or that the corporate tax cut should be about Trump’s tax loopholes. These are all easily debatable premises.
But Trump just can’t do it when he’s given two minutes to think it over.
And that’s how he uses the only tools he knows: marketing and branding. It’s the tough one and the other isn’t fast enough. You should be confident in his track record and his greatness. Trump is hoping that as the public spectacle continues, this marketing image will subtly lurk in the background. You’ll think about it every time you see Biden stumble or speak slower. This is the dormant perception of consumers.
Trump isn’t afraid to look like a horrible human being in a debate because he believes consumers will ultimately want the Tonka toy rather than the knockoff brand.
Will it work? All I know is my mom is still angry.
Sean Wilson is Professor of American Politics at Wright State University where he teaches the American Presidency. Guest columns fact-based opinion pieces of 300 to 450 words are submitted or requested. Submitted articles should include links to any research or statistics cited. I have an idea? Contact Amelia Robinson at [email protected]