Some Unsolicited Advice

As all the world knows, Donald Trump is scheduled to debate Joe Biden this coming Thursday, June 27 [I had July!  Sorry for the error], at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  The debate will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, will be hosted by CNN, and will be presided over by CNN’s Jack Tapper and Dana Bash. In other words, Trump will be playing on Biden’s home field.

It’s partly a testament to the self-confidence of Trump and his team that they should agree to a debate on these terms. I suppose it might also be argued that it is a testament to the wariness of the Democrats that they should propose the first debate so early in the election cycle—after all, Trump is not yet the official Republican nominee.  That won’t happen until next month, when the RNC convention gets under way in Milwaukee and Trump is invested with the imprimatur—or perhaps one should say the eligatur—of the party.

On the principle that, when it comes to politics, one can never think low enough, I should also mention the popular conjecture  that one reason the Dems challenged Trump to a debate so early in the proceedings was to give him an opportunity to perform publicly against Trump while there was still time to replace him.

Notwithstanding the somewhat panicked objection that Biden’s accelerating senile exhibitionism has been manufactured by Trumpsters, everyone knows that what we have been seeing of the President are not “deep fakes,” not “cheap fakes,” but worrisome cognitive brain bakes. The truth is that the more context you have for Joe Biden’s bizarre behavior, the worse it appears. The public will probably never know what cocktail of steroids and uppers will be administered to the President to see him through the night, but whatever the recipe, they have a lot riding on its efficacy.

If Biden crumbles on the debate stage,  perhaps a replacement can be identified in time.  One thing I believe we can be sure of is that, should a switch have to be made, the person drafted will not be Kamala Harris.  She is deeply unpopular, hardly more mentally competent that Biden himself, and she would surely lose. What has perhaps not been widely acknowledged is that, even if Biden wins the election,  there is no way he could finish a second term, which means that a vote for Biden is, in the end, a vote for Kamala Harris. For should Biden be elected to a second term, it would be Kamala Harris who would finish it. Chew on that, Kemo Sabe.

But probably the main reason the Dems insisted on this early date for the first debate (the second and probably final presidential debate is scheduled to take place in September) is not to test Joe Biden but to try to coax Donald Trump to implode.  After all, the Democrats arranged their extra-legal legal assaults on the former president in order to render him unelectable.  Trump’s recent felony conviction may be entirely bogus—I believe it is—but there are some authoritative observers who believe that it will nonetheless hurt Trump with voters.

Remember, he is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11. No one knows what Judge Juan Merchan will do.  He could, if he wished, sentence Trump to jail. Having seen what the DOJ’s persecution of Trump has done for Trump’s fundraising and support in the polls so far, I believe that exercising the nuclear option and putting the former president in jail on an entirely trumped-up charge would all but guarantee his victory. But who knows? I have been wrong before.

Which brings me to that unsolicited advice I mention in my title.  Michel de Montaigne observed that admonition is one of the highest offices of friendship.  It is in that spirit that I offer these observations.

Donald Trump can be an effective debater.  But he can also be his own worst enemy. He tends to exaggerate. He blusters. He finds it difficult not to strike back when needled. I thought he did reasonably well in his debates against Biden in 2020, but the consensus was that he gave a poor showing, especially in the first debate. Which is why I would urge Trump to take a page from Napoleon and not interfere while his opponent is making a mistake. Given enough time, Joe Biden is certain to release his inner glossolalia. He is guaranteed to start shouting.  Trump should allow Biden to do what Biden does so well: to descend into rambling, shrewish incoherence.

When Biden reminds the television audience that Trump is now “a convicted felon,” which he is certain to do early and often, Trump should simply smile and say he is not going to make personal remarks about Biden’s family. He should be like Johnny Mercer and Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive.  He can acknowledge that it pains him to call attention to the economy these last few years—the inflation that is hollowing out the middle class—the tsunami of illegal immigrants, the wars raging on several continents.  But his focus should be on what a future under Donald Trump might look like.

After all, we have some idea.  Trump was president for four years already.  For the first three and a half years, until COVID struck, he presided over one of the most successful terms of any American president in history.  Trump’s tax cuts and decimation of the regulatory apparatus of state control unleashed the engines of prosperity. As the stock market boomed, so did wages, especially at the lower end of the scale.  The southern border was intact. America was energy-independent. The world was at peace.

Did I mention that the world was at peace?

In a recent conversation on the All-In podcast with David Sacks and other tech gurus, Trump performed brilliantly. He outlined a number of policies he would pursue and answered difficult questions about them.

He also acknowledged that Joe Biden could be a formidable debating opponent, recalling his performance against Paul Ryan in 2012.

Biden in 2024 is not the same man as Joe Biden in 2012, but it was well that Trump acknowledged that political reality.  It suggests that he understands the tricky rhetorical road he must travel.  He must do everything he can to underscore his own strengths without reminding viewers of the “mean Tweet man” of Trump’s first term.

The left-wing “moderators” are sure to bait him, as will Joe Biden, if he can, but Trump must sail above their attacks with humor and concerned candor. Their lines will be all “convicted felon,” “January 6,” “Do you think the 2020 election was stolen?” He must smile and answer: “Listen, this country is in trouble.  Our Southern border is essentially nonexistent; we have raging inflation, high interest rates, and an extremely dangerous international situation. We also, as I have reason to know, are living at a time when the Department of Justice has been weaponized to punish opponents of this regime. The rule of law no longer rules; partisan pseudo-justice does.  I will undo all that. I am not interested in vengeance; I am interested in Making America Great Again. I did it once. Vote for me, and I will do it again.”

He will, too.

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Notable Replies

  1. Mr. Kimball’s gracious advice is the third or fourth article I’ve read in recent days offering unsolicited advice to Trump regarding the debate this Thursday (I do believe Mr. Kimball meant to June 27, rather than July 27).

    I have no quibble with his advice or suggestions, except to reinforce a couple points: Trump must be prepared to accept the “convicted felon” pejorative hurled at him early and often. And PDJT will almost certainly be baited with the J6 “insurrection” issue even though there is ample proof Trump requested National Guard troops in advance of his speech to the crowd, and that Nancy Pelosi and the Pentagon brass stalled on his request precisely because they wished for an “incident”. Moreover, there is also ample evidence of federal LE incitement and entrapment strategy and tactics used against the J6 martyrs.

    But none of that matters to the viewers and Trump should stay away from it: its debate quicksand–a political black hole.

    Mr. Kimball and a few others have offered essentially the same advice to President Trump; stay focused, stay positive and don’t take the bait or knee-jerk respond to slander, lies, and invective cloaked under the pretense of moderator questions. And above all, PDJT should use every opportunity to cheerfully get under Biden’s skin, but not in a prickly, brutish way, but with aplomb and a sense of dignity.

    It’s quite possible for Trump to do so, and if done right, no amount of drugs can restrain Biden’s hair-trigger temper, or his instinctive impulse to bully and patronize. Yes, the Democrat faithful will eat it up, but the majority–especially those snow flake independents–will not.

    We all know–well, those of us pay close attention to such things–that Joe Biden is an avatar, a cut-out for the 3rd term of Barack Hussein Obama. And we all know Biden should never have been elected in 2020 (he wasn’t “elected”, but arguing the point won’t help Trump), was not up for the job, and has been a nightmare for this country. All that Trump needs to do is allow Biden to demonstrate his unworthiness while at the same time, navigating the slings and arrows of Democrat activists in journalist drag by sounding and appearing quite presidential.

  2. Exactly, if President Trump stays calm, it’s in the bag. For Biden and the two CNN shills, it will be all “Mr. Trump, how do you respond to allegations that you did this or that etc, etc.” There will be so many attempts to anger him that the three Democrats’ could become unhinged in short order if he calmly deflects it. President Trump’s primary debate objective should be to let all three go into meltdown. During the disorderly 2020 debate, Chris Wallace, who was still with FOX then, did this so Biden wouldn’t. The two CNN shills might get there faster. But it’s safe to say that the network has wargamed this result and they will be careful not to let this happen. But if a now far more severely senile Biden is as jacked-up as he was during the State of the Union, he will get there first and the two shills will have their hands full.

    But this is rather academic at this point. As hard as it is for normal people to believe, many Democrat voters don’t want Biden replaced. The debate might be the chief puppet master’s effort to show the base that he needs to be replaced. Don’t be surprised if they parachute Michelle into their August convention. Obama is tired of only using his phone and wants to get back to writing EOs, with Michelle performing the function of his newest ghostwriter.

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