I Played Trump in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Debate Prep. Here’s What It Takes to Beat Him.

Philippe Reines, writing in Politico, presents several suggestions on how to beat Trump in a debate. He should know, he played him during Hillary Clinton’s debate prep.

Never admit you’re wrong. It is safe to say in a debate against Trump that he or the moderator will press a weakness in your past you’ve likely addressed countless times before. You could spend your allotted time repeating yourself, or you can say, Are you kidding? You’re asking about some lobbyist I met with a decade ago while this guy has installed a revolving door in the White House? No. Let’s talk about how people are paying him $200,000 to get into his club and then getting their money’s worth out of him. If there’s still time, you can come back to me.” 

Yes. The Democratic candidate cannot back down or be contrite to Trump. You can’t hurt Trump by attempting to shame him or point out a weakness so the candidate must never agree with any weakness a moderator or Trump himself calls out upon the candidate. The candidate must always remember Trump is a bully.

[O]ur nominee should know that Trump will lie throughout their debate, but can’t count on the moderator to call them all out and can’t expect the audience to know on their own. So our nominee needs to be able to say, You’re lying.” Easier said than done. Especially if Trump lies every time he opens his mouth.

One possible tactic is to simply, and calmly, count out loud. First time he lies, the nominee should say, That was the first of many lies to come because that’s what he does best.” After that, when Trump lies again, the nominee should interject with a simple Lie number two,” or, That was a few, so we’re up to six.” The moderator might scold the candidate for interrupting, but he or she should respond, If you were calling out his lies, I wouldn’t have to. But someone has to. He gets away with it all day every day. But not here, not now.”

That’s decent advice. My simple addition would be when Trump inevitably says, I’m not lying, you’re lying,” the Democratic candidate should say, There you go again” echoing Reagan.

Ultimately, Trump will come across like a bully with lots of bluster. All you have to do is punch him in the nose repeatedly.

July 30, 2019