Monday, September 19, 2016


Weekly Opinion Editorial

by Steve Fair

     The presidential race is tightening up.  Recent polling shows Donald Trump leading in Ohio, Florida, and Iowa and tied with Clinton in Nevada and North Carolina.  Trump has also made gains in New Hampshire, Colorado, Michigan and Virginia.  The former Secretary of State returned to the campaign trail after her bout with pneumonia.  Polls showed over 50% of all general election voters have questions about her long term health.  September has not proven to be a good month for the former Secretary of State. 
     The first of three presidential debates is on Monday the 26th at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.     All three debates will run from 8-9:30 Central time.  They will have one or two moderators, who will select all questions, which are not supposed to be known by either candidate prior to the debate.  The second debate will be in St. Louis at Washington University on October 9th, and the final one will be in Las Vegas at UNLV on October 19th.  The Vice Presidential debate will be on October 4th at Longwood University in Farmville, VA.  NBC’s Lester Holt will moderate the first debate, CNN’s Anderson Cooper the second, and ABC’s Martha Raddatz and Fox News Sunday host Christ Wallace the final one. Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson will not be on stage at the first debate because he failed to maintain a 15% polling average.  He has vowed to work to be included at the second debate.  There are rumors he and his running mate may drop out because they fear their presence might be hurting Clinton more than Trump. CNN commentator Carl Bernstein said on "Reliable Sources" that his sources indicate Weld is "thinking about dropping out of this race if it looks like he and Johnson might get Trump elected."  Here is what Trump needs to do in the first debate: 
     First, he must convince voters he is presidential timber.  He can’t just insult and entertain.  He must convince and captivate.  His recent public statements have shown the Donald more disciplined and more presidential, a definite improvement over his previous Don Rickles style of public speaking.  One of his strengths is his ability to shrug off criticism publicly.  Most candidates try to smile or be gracious when an opponent attacks their position on the issue at a debate.  Not Trump.  He makes faces and often upstages their attack with his body language.  His response is one of relativity; it is equal to or greater than his attacker.  He doesn’t play by traditional debate rules.  His ‘in your face’ message and approach worked well in the primaries and it resonates with angry frustrated Americans.  Clinton, on the other hand, did not do well in the Democrat debates.  Sanders fired up the crowd and her delivery was flat and mundane.      Second, he must convince voters he can do what he is promising to do.  Trump has promised to build a wall on the southern border.  While the POTUS has power, he can’t do that without the cooperation of Congress, the leadership in the states involved and of course Mexico.  Public pressure can certainly move all of those involved, particularly the politicos, but Trump needs to provide details on how he will accomplish these claims.  He has claimed he will put Americans back to work again by bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.  How will he do that?  He needs to present a clear concise plan of how he will ‘make America great again.’     Third, he must convince voters he is the better choice of the two.  Clinton has a lot of experience, but her track record of accomplishment has been spotty at best.  Her political ideology is closer to President Obama than President Clinton.  Bill Clinton, with all of his moral flaws, was a pragmatic elected official.  He worked across the aisle and was the last president to balance the federal budget.  In his last term, he governed more conservative than some Republicans.  That will not be case with Hillary.  She favors gun control, abortion on demand, same sex marriage and liberal social programs.  She has stated she will appoint Justices on the Supreme Court with those same views.        
     Trump must convince Americans he isn’t just a ‘flash in the pan,’ who won the GOP nomination because voters are mad.  He must convince the masses he is the real deal.  He needs to act more like Ronald Reagan than Ronald McDonald.

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