Who decides who wins the debate?

Who will win Thursday’s presidential debate?

It depends who is scoring it.

Graphic courtesy of CNN

There are three “judges” on the tribunal.

# The (anti-Trump) Mainstream Media will see it one way, despite whether Donald J. Trump comes out rude and vicious, or polite and toned-down. (Don’t bet on the latter.)

# The people watching it on TV will see it a different way.

# The people who do not watch it, but whose opinion will be formed by memes and out-of-context clips that will flood (anti) social media.

Which has the most impact?

The third group, the least informed group.

By the numbers, in the first group, the vast majority of the MSM is anti-Trump, their negative opinions of him are precooked and predictable. They will have nothing new to say, and will be preaching to the choir.

The second group, actual viewers, are subdivided into three groups: Pro-Joe Biden, Pro-Donald Trump, Undecided.

The two Pros will see their guy as victorious. Partisans always wear blinders.

The Undecideds are the people to listen to.

They probably believe Biden is decrepit, and Trump is deranged, yet feel they must choose one. If they weren’t open to that, they wouldn’t be watching.

Here’s where Joe has to show energy, focus, and forward ideas to triumph.

Donald has to be presidential and act like a grownup.

But the third group is more impressionable, and possibly larger, than the first two.

They are the ones who can be impressed by a torrent of ridicule over something as simple as a candidate looking at his wristwatch. Remember how George H.W. Bush got crucified for doing just that? Or Al Gore got clobbered for loudly sighing as George W. Bush was making a statement? 

On the positive side, Ronald Reagan won big twice in debates — first for telling Jimmy Carter “there you go again,” and then disarming Walter Mondale with his (prepared) quip: “I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I will not exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

Even Mondale laughed and that moment was aired over and over again.

Any misstatement Thursday night will be exaggerated and multiplied on every platform you can imagine.

Sorry to say, that will make or break a candidate.

30 thoughts on “Who decides who wins the debate?”

  1. I think seeing a real winner or real loser is pretty much a lost cause. Everybody’s opinions are so extreme, it seems like a fair debate for either side is almost impossible. I think at this point I’d rather see vice-presidential debates, there would probably be far less drama. Let’s face it 99% of the voters probably have had their mids made up for a very long time. This is kind of stirring the pot on both sides.

  2. Which is why I haven’t watched the presidential debates live in forever. Anything notable will be repeated ad nauseum so I’ll see that without the boring parts.

  3. Will Joe fall asleep in the middle of a sentence? Will DT urge his supporters to storm the stage? Does it really matter? The Ship of State will sail on, heading for the rocks and shoals formed by the ignorance and passivity of the electorate. To paraphrase Dickens, “It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.”

    1. So, Vince, who was the guy falling asleep in the courtroom while he was being convicted of 34 felonies? I don’t think that was Biden, was it?

  4. Unlike with past debates, we all know who each candidate is and what he stands for. And unlike with past presidential races, we also know what each candidate has actually done while in office. I think we’ve all pretty much decided, even the undecideds.
    I agree with Phil that the better debate would have been between the two vice presidential candidates, whoever the Republican will be. I’d like to see, for example, a governor who can stack up accomplishments next to a sitting vice president who appears to have done absolutely nothing while in office.
    As for the presidential debate, I see that as similar to the fascination of watching a train wreck. Get the snacks ready and enjoy the fun!

  5. Both men have have a one term record. One has a record of achievement the other a record of extreme failure. It should be a no brainer. But nothing surprises me in this upside down world.

      1. 👍LOL! I had to turn off spellchecker. Whenever I typed in ‘Daniel’ it came out “Peckerwood”.

      2. LOL!!! I had to turn off spellchecker; every time I typed in ‘Daniel’, “PECKERWOOD” came up!

  6. As with beauty, the winner of this debate is all in the eye of the beholder. As Daniel said, both men have served a term in the office and are looking for a repeat. We all know them both. Now the fact that neither is particularly well liked should have no bearing on whether the decrepit or the deranged should lead us for the next four years. Hold your nose and vote for who you believe is the lesser of two flawed candidates, and look forward to 2028.

  7. Advice to Trump:
    1. Select a strong and credible VP who is clearly capable of moving up to be president, if needed.

    Biden’s irresponsibly DEI selected VP, Miss “Word Salad” USA, could not even move up to be a capable dogcatcher. The 2024 election is not about these two men, but about which VP is capable to become President, since either elderly man might not be able to finish even his first year.

    Which VP do we want for the next 7-8 years leading the USA as President?

    2. Support family planning and abortion! Completely.
    Regain millions and millions of votes lost every election because of the Republican’s shortsighted, intolerant and election suicidal stance against every women’s right to family planning and to choose an abortion, without any government’s intrusive breathing down her neck.

    Millions and millions of Independents, Democrat’s and Republican’s votes will be regained on that one issue! The evangelists, who have been unforgivingly, and certainly unChristianly, cramming their religious doctrines down everyone else’s throats, will still vote Republican for the basic policies they support in that party. Besides, evangelists retain their right not to have their own abortions, as they have always had that right! Probably very few votes lost from them in pique, against millions and millions and millions regained on that one issue of tolerance and compassion for families.

    Advice to Biden:
    1-100, Resign and go home, please, to “save our democracy,” and to strengthen the USA and our allies.

    1. Your prejudice is showing. Kamala Harris is a tough and intelligent woman with a great track record both in the state of California and in the Senate. You are free to not like her, but there are simply no actual facts to back up your opinion of her. Which makes it kinda worthless.

    2. I really don’t see Trump doing a complete flip-flop on abortion. He’ll stick with “leave it to the states.” Going all in on pro-choice would, I think, cause a lot of people to just stay home. You are right that they won’t vote Biden. “Leave it to the states” has already caused some disappointment, but folks are sticking with him on the grounds that it’s just a political move. At this point I don’t see him winning back the double-haters who are deciding their vote on the abortion issue. The Dobbs case was too much of an earthquake.

      And I think 1 in a 100 is wildly optimistic. It won’t happen.

      As for Harris, I’m ok with her because the progressives didn’t like her. Why? Because she was an effective prosecutor before she ran for Senate. (The proggy’s don’t like prosecutors for the same reason some conservatives object to judicial candidates who were public defenders–they blame the individuals for what they think is wrong with the criminal justice system).

      Both Biden’s and Trump’s disapproval rating is higher than Harris’. A VP pick usually makes little difference. As John Nance said, the office “is not worth a bucket of warm spit.” (Though his successor under FDR, Truman, found out differently). More politely, but just as emphatically, John Adams called it “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

      Harris hasn’t been stellar (what VP has?– with the possible exceptions of LBJ and Biden who each was a huge help passing legislation and reassuring voters worried about the candidates’ inexperience. Truman was dismissed as a light-weight product of the corrupt democratic Pendergast machine which ran Kansas City.)

      In the VP debate, voters liked her better than Pence by a 10% margin.

      As for stupid and incompetent, I doubt it. Both her parents were PhD’s which were earned in the 1960’s long before DEI or affirmative action. Her mother, a biologist, made an important discovery in the treatment of breast cancer, and her father is a Professor of Economics at Stanford. She went to Hastings Law School. She did a good job as DA and AG and got elected to the Senate. DEI doesn’t get you elected in your own right. Yeah, like all politicians, she tries to answer questions without answering them and you get the occasional (I count 4 or 5) word salads. Compared to Biden, a gaffe machine, and Trump who meanders aimlessly like the drunk at the end the bar, that’s not so bad. So I wouldn’t “misunderestimate” her there. (See what I did there).

      Lastly, I would be careful about deploying the DEI trope. There is nothing wrong with criticizing DEI or affirmative action on general or ideological grounds, but once you start applying it to individuals you have lost your way. Like Harris’ parents, there were plenty of minorities/women who were incredibly intelligent and competent who made it despite the barriers,and even more after those barriers started to come down. Such folks did not stop existing with the advent of DEI and affirmative action and it is a terrible and unjust mistake to simply assume that is the case with respect to an individual. If you want to attack people based on facts, that is just fine. Otherwise, you can have no complaint when others accuse people of only being in a position because of “white privilege.”

    3. Oh ye spreader of falsehoods. Unlike Trump who was a weakling on foreign policy and who emboldened America’s enemies (a/k/a Trump’s friends) Russia and N. Korea, and he weakened NATO, Biden strengthened are alliances (a concept Trump cannot understand since everything is transactional to him). Sweden & Finland joined NATO and are buying American weapons. Biden also started AUKUS, an alliance of Australia, U.K., and USA. Biden has also been strengthening our Pacific alliances with Japan, S. Korea and The Philippines.
      Trump doesn’t understand how foreign policy works. He is a malignant narcissist who is susceptible to flattery. Don is easily conned. Putin & Xi know Trump is an easy mark. What else? Lying draft dodger trump detests the military. He has no concept of military service e & why people join.
      Trump is the biggest threat to democracy. The last thing America needs is anymore Trump-appointed judges like Neil Gorsuch and the abominable Aileen Cannon.
      It’s this simple, Mr. upper class; Trump wins—America and the free world loses.

  8. Biden will win the Debate, hands down. Trump will not exhibit any different behavior than his rallies. Rambling on, repeating everything two or three times, getting dramatic and yes, talking over the muted microphone. Forget about muting the microphone, get him a to put on a muzzle mask when it is not Trump’s turn to talk. And yes, I’m serious!

Comments are closed.