MEDIASTRAIGHTalk-September 2016 Edition

September 26, 2016

THE FIRST DEBATE:A Political Fencing Match–Parry and Riposte—

It’s all about “Like-ability”. Most people don’t remember 80-90% of what someone says 15-30 minutes after it’s said, But they do remember whether they liked or disliked the person saying it. Clinton and Trump are both very unlikable candidates.

What strategies do they adopt in Monday’s debate to win over the key audience–THE UNDECIDEDs?

Trump has to prove he has a statesman’s ability to clearly make a policy point and vigorously support it with examples and stories. He represents a change from the “status quo”(Clinton/Obama). The “bully-in-your-face” mentality, that worked in the GOP primaries, won’t work in this format. Tough guys don’t have to tell you they’re tough. What they say and how they say it gives perceptive credibility. Trump needs to emphasize the visual elements of his countenance—eye contact, gestures, facial expressions, movement and energy and keep from overpowering vocal volume.

The undecideds want to know if Clinton, with all her ‘baggage’ in government service throughout the years, provides any change in direction domestically and globally. Perception (not reality) of her is conniving, secretive, untrustworthy–the typical politician of the 21st century. How does she change that perception against a man who likes to attack? The undecideds need to see a caring, smiling and confident candidate who has worked to soften her image. That change must come through the TV cameras rather than a litany of what she will do and how she will do it. She doesn’t have to defend the last eight years—tell the undecideds how it’s going to change using examples and stories. Will the ‘do-over’ make her likeable?


In a good fencing match, one opponent begins an attack on his rival. The rival is either able to parry (push aside) the blade and initiate a reposte (response). The winner of this debate will be the candidate who accepts the attack, defends his/her position and then goes on the offensive. Whomever scores the most “touches” will win the undecideds.

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