Next Thursday the 22nd the president will face another liberal moderator with a liberal topic list who will openly side with Joe Biden. It has to be, by this point, part of the Republican strategy to engage this way. The president must think that dinging the moderator, as he did very effectively against Savanah Guthrie, is the way to go.
But this debate will be different. It could spell the margin or victory or defeat for the president. He just can’t rely on bashing the ref this time.
FNC: “Topics for the second presidential debate have been announced by Kristen Welker, an NBC anchor who will serve as the moderator for next week’s event, and coronavirus, race in America and climate change are expected to be widely covered. Kristen Welker, moderator of the Oct. 22 presidential debate at [Belmont University] has selected topics: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, Leadership,” announced the Commission on Presidential Debates in a tweet Friday.”
NEW: Kristen Welker, moderator of the Oct. 22 presidential debate at @BelmontUniv, has selected topics: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, Leadership #Debates2020 https://t.co/kFWvRzIljv
— CPD (@debates) October 16, 2020
Game day preview: Covid-19 will be all about how Trump screwed up. Families means Trump hates minority families. Race, Trump hates minorities. Climate change, Trump is a denier and thus a dangerous blockhead. National security, how the world hates Trump and on and on ad nauseum.
So the deck and maybe the audience will be stacked against the president. The Democrats want to pound a stake in his heart with this debate. Biden could wet his pants while doing the Watusi and all the major networks will say he won hands down.
But it won’t matter if Trump can confidently make his case directly to the American people. He needs to cooly slam the moderator, hit Biden on the Burisma meeting, and point out who is against him and what is at stake in November. But if he reverts to the form of the first debate it will hurt him. If, as McLuhan said, television and the broadcast image is a “cool”, meaning not intense, medium, then the composed candidate wins. The topics and the moderator will conspire against him. The president must rise above it. He must be cool.