Election Update - Final Debate Preview
10/18/2016 by Dylan James Harper
Where to start? I don’t write an article for a week and what already felt like the weirdest election in modern history takes an even darker turn. A lot has happened in the matter of days since the last election update, so let’s recap: Trump said, on tape, that he has sexually assaulted women, and that doing so is somewhat of a normal occurrence for him. He was in a town hall debate where his defense for that was that it was just “locker room talk” and nothing more. The world briefly became obsessed with a sweater wearing, disposable camera using undecided voter, until it turned out that his porn tastes were a little strange, even for Reddit standards. Several women came forward to state that Trump’s statements on tape were accurate, and that he had sexually assaulted them. Trump denied the claims, but still more witnesses came forward as further evidence that he was telling Billy Bush the truth. Oh, and the GOP might have hit their breaking point with Trump. How is this all going to impact Wednesday's debate? Well, let’s dive in.
Despite that delightful quote from Hillary’s actual real life friend Michelle Obama, Clinton went low in the last debate, lobbing personal attack after personal attack at Trump. Whether he had it coming or not, this strategy seemed to frustrate many of her supporters. It was the safest strategy, undoubtedly. Trump is in a position where he can’t go high, or he’d likely be viewed as ignoring several of the issues plaguing his campaign. Clinton going low ensured that the whole debate stayed in the cellar, and thus no gains were made by anyone. It was the debate equivalent of running three times in a row while you’re winning a football game to run out the clock. Clinton is ahead, so why wouldn’t she just try to make sure no one can progress?
The real question is if she’ll stick with that strategy on Wednesday, and the answer is almost certainly yes. I think she’ll try to tone it down a bit to avoid another debate she’s in being labeled one of the most aggressive in history, but she is likely going to hit Trump and hit him hard on these issues. She’d be wise to let him bring them up first, but that gets risky. Wait too long and it’ll come off as dodging the real issues (not to imply that a candidate sexually assaulting someone isn’t a real issue, but many voters are likely to see it that way), but if she brings it up and it’ll look like she’s making the debate dirtier than it should be.
What will Trump do? Well, what can he do? His own running mate seems unsure how to defend him, and has spent most of the time since the tape came out auditioning for a future run at the presidency. Trump will likely go after Bill Clinton, but while that might be somewhat of an effective talking point in theory (even if it is morally bankrupt to say “well, this other guy committed sexual assault to so I’m not so bad) based on recent polling, it just seems like people don’t care. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. People have never really cared about his sexual assault charges. That, however, seems to be Trump’s only strategy.
If Trump somehow sneaks out a win, it might give him enough momentum to make a go at it here in the next few weeks, but realistically, he’s done. If Clinton wins this debate easily, it’s the nail in the coffin. It wouldn’t be surprising to see an even larger wave of republicans distancing themselves from Trump for damage control. The election isn’t over, but it’s hard not to start speculating on how the GOP moves forward from here, but that deserves it’s own article. Until then, make sure to check back after the debate for more political coverage.
Dylan James Harper is the Chief Political Editor for CSuiteMusic
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