Over the past week, the first presidential debate has been on the minds of many Americans. It’s been called “a national embarrassment,” “a disgrace” and in at least one case referred to as a “hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a trainwreck” on national TV.
In my world, the most telling quote came from a contact who I know for a fact has a painting of Donald Trump as a crusader knight as his phone background. Even this die-hard Trump supporter told me: “Trump went too far, and I don’t know where he goes from here.”
If even the president’s most ardent supporters recognize that his blustering went too far, it’s safe to assume that persuadable voters were similarly put off. But it got me thinking: where does Trump go from here?
With that in mind, here’s the two minute speech I believe Donald trump must make at the start of the next debate if he hopes to win this election:
“I came out strong in the first debate, and I’ve heard that for some of you, it felt like too much. I didn’t intend to come across too aggressively- but I’ve been frustrated. I’ve been frustrated that Joe Biden has been cowering to people who want to see America move away from the principles of equality and fair treatment. I’ve been frustrated that our founding principles are being ignored. And I’ve been frustrated that the swamp I’m trying to drain is fighting back because they know accountability to the people means less power for them.
Last time we debated, I couldn’t stand to let the voice of the extremist left, who want to raise your taxes and limit your freedoms, control the debate. Joe Biden’s lies need to be called out.
I’m worried about Joe’s mental health. We have all seen how he has slipped in the past 47 years he has been in office. We have built a more successful economy, lifted more people out of poverty, and helped more Americans thrive in four years than he has in more than four decades. And I’m worried that he wouldn’t make it through the next four years, leaving this country with an even more extreme Vice President taking the reins.
Where the left wants to divide us into categories based on race, income, and gender, my goal is to continue building a strong economy that empowers all Americans and allows us to grow together.
In the past four years I have worked to end foreign wars, worked to broker peace deals that earned me a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, and helped grow the economy- making us safer and wealthier as a people. I donate 100% of my paycheck every quarter because the role of the President should be as a public servant.
We still have a lot to work on and I’ve heard from you. Over the next four years I will continue to hear from you, and I am listening. I will continue to fix the criminal justice system that has unfairly persecuted black Americans. I’m going to make sure our national defense is strong. And I’m going to surround myself with and rely on leaders and experts who can truly make America great- for all Americans. Thank you for your support, and thank you for everything you are doing to help us Make America Great Again.”
I am not, and have never been, a Donald Trump supporter. This article, laying out a hypothetical, isn’t a question of politics; it’s a problem of marketing strategy. Every side of the political spectrum should be looking at the first debate as a case study. Donald Trump choosing to appeal to a small group of his most die-hard supporters was a tactical marketing error.
If President Trump pivots to a measured approach that is both inclusive and optimistic, he would provide many Americans with necessary reassurance. After all, America has significant economic growth under the Trump Administration and Joe Biden’s policies are not widely popular.
Trump’s approach doesn’t need to concede anything to Joe Biden. In fact, the President appearing as someone who will empower people to succeed pushes Joe further into a corner. Trump seems to have forgotten that Sleepy Joe has, in many cases, been his own worst enemy. Let him talk, and he will continue to stumble over his own words.
In an already uncertain world, Americans need to be reassured that steady hands are steering the ship. People want to know that our republic is led by a man who can be persuaded by logic and experts, not just by twitter trends.
I’m an optimist, but also a realist. History shows that Donald Trump is unlikely to take a measured approach. Instead we will probably get another aggressive debate performance, and see the number of MAGA supporters shrink despite the importance of these next 30 days.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, who organizes these events, has chosen to support politics over principles, and this kind of debate is the result. Strap in folks, it’s going to be a bumpy road to November 3rd.