The guy who played the role of Trump in Hillary Clinton's practice debates explains how to beat him

To my surprise, they do indeed. I went on a date with one about a month before the 2016 election, which–to my mind–was way too late to be undecided.


Please forgive the tangent, but I disagree with that. I don’t want the Democratic nominee to cater to the “center,” I want them to motivate the progressive base to come out and vote. The progressive policy ideas that Democrats are putting out there right now are popular with substantial majorities of people in this country when they’re actually presented with the substance, and I don’t think the centrist* triangulation of the Clinton 90’s Democratic party are what will carry the day at this point.

I understand that reasonable people can disagree about this, but for every centrist out there I think there are two progressive voters to who can be motivated to come out and vote. There’s a reason that Republicans want to suppress the vote: the more people who vote, the more elections Democrats tend to win.

*I would argue that the demographic of “centrist” is actually pretty right of center, but ymmv


the only way to beat trump is to find every last unregistered person who can vote in states that are going trump, get them to register, and then get them to vote against him, every other voter already decided long ago

seriously it’s the only way because the popular vote doesn’t make a damn bit of difference, democrats need 270 electoral votes

even 269 tie, trump wins, he controls the supreme court for any challenges and if the house has to break a tie, they must vote on a per-state basis so he still wins (it’s not individual votes, they vote as a state group like senate to break electoral tie)

trump only needs 80,000 votes in the right places to win, that’s all, and it could be hacked too just by that much so it will never be detected

or they could just turn the power off in cities that are democratic strongholds so people don’t go to vote


You want to win a debate with Traitor Trump? Do you really want to win?

Fine. When the Asshole In Chief badmouths you, calmly walk over to him, look him right in his yellowed, bloodshot eyes, and say, “Take that back.” And regardless of what he says after that, give him a right hook to the jaw hard enough to knock out his goddamn dentures.

Seriously. Trump is a playground bully. There is only one way to beat a playground bully.


I think a Turnip meltdown is the only possible good that could come out of a debate with him. His lies, and pointing them out, are irrelevant since everyone has already decided which side they’re on. We’ve already seen that there is nothing so catastrophically stupid he can possibly say to be deemed unfit for the office, so that’s off the table too.

If he has a very public and, importantly, embarrassing meltdown on a national stage, fully televised in real time and unspinnable, it may finally embarrass a few right-wingers into sitting out the election (don’t hold your breath for them to switch over, that can only happen once the fervor dies down, if it ever does).

Relevant chaser:


With all due respect, I think some of the comments here have grossly overestimated the number of rabid Trump supporters that are in the electorate (perhaps because they have such a loud and obnoxious presence online, and the news media keeps reinforcing the appearance of massive numbers by televising rallies). The hard cases are not the targets of a debate; the primary targets are your own voters, and all the regular Republicans who held their nose and voted for Trump or against Hillary specifically, or who weren’t paying attention and voted party line. Those people are reachable.


A nail gun so that Trump doesn’t wander around. The moderator should have ordered him back to his podium instantly.

“Are you confused or looking for the little boys’ room? I think it’s over that way…”


The guy who played the role of Trump in Hillary Clinton’s practice debates explains how to beat him

Because it worked so well the first time…

Besides, is there honestly anyone left in the United States that’s still undecided about Trump?

Its interesting that what he’s describing is the basic strategy for over coming the gish gallop.

A common bullshit debate technique. But it looks like he dropped one of the key techniques.

You call out and dismiss falsehoods and fallacies. But you can not get bogged down in refuting each such statement, as the whole point of this is to ensure only the galloper’s claims actually get heard. And it is functionally impossible to refute all of them, the fact that you can’t leaves the impression that its not possible. And thus the claims are valid.

So its dismiss as false, and move on to your own statements.

Public opinion.

Debates are a major, high viewership, venue for getting your policy ideas and general pitch out. And the impression that a candidate clearly won the televised debate has had a material impact on voting and turnouts since Nixon.

Though I think you have a point that refusing to participate could work better. Especially if you stress that he lies and argues in bad faith, you get to side step the whole shouting him down part. The refusal coule be played as a major embarrassment for him.

That strategy is falling by the way side. There are far more people who already have a preference but do not turn up. The number of true independents and “people in the center” is incredibly small. The vast majority of people without a party affiliation still habitually vote for one party or the other. So what this has looked like for a long while is Democrats attempting to appeal to conservatives and largely failing, while undermining their own turnout. Since the right has moved to such self consuming extremes that they can’t really even play to moderates.

2018 was largely turnout driven. Obama’s two wins were largely turn out driven. Trump’s surprising success in both the primaries and his squeeker in the general were significantly cause by turn out.

The main race debates don’t generally change minds anymore, but they can be a significant driver of turnout. A “win” in the debate gives the impression of momentum that can trigger a band wagon effect. People who aren’t regular voters are more likely to do so when they feel their choice is likely to win. To an extent, if it seems already won or a forgone conclusion then people stay home.

That being the big reason all the variations on “voting doesn’t matter” are so pernicious.


This. Moderators have been crap. But even a good moderator must have the mic switches and only turn a candidate’s mic on when it is their turn to talk. Otherwise they will be turned into a bad moderator by the bad behaviour of the candidates (well, let’s be honest, all we can say at this stage is ‘of one of the candidates’.)


You may well be correct. But an exposed, made to actually look dumb, embarrassed, and most of all frustratedly angry Trumpty live on screen as it happens, losing his shit in front of millions may just make him lose enough ‘face’ with enough of the people who simply opted to vote for him (not those who are insane enough to turn up to his rallies) to make them have second thoughts. A good candidate and a good ‘debate’ might just work.

ETA @apalatn got here first.


the “chicken” card is just another lie - bring it on

I wish they had real-time fact checking, with the liar forfeiting time to speak, and forfeiting camera time. Their time would go to clarifications of their lies.

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Chicken is indeed easy to counter and presents an open goal. Simply say "but am I as chicken as the man who lied about ‘bone spurs’ (air quotes) to avoid serving his country?’
Be direct (the words ‘lied about’ are critical) and watch him turn red and explode.
Even better if the candidate were a time-served/retired-from-active-service vet.


Yes and can we have these wammy sound and animations every time a lie is detected?

Seriously though, we do need real time fact checking.


“Many people say, some people, brilliant people, people who know, these people say Donald’s hands are really small. Small and kind of mushroom shaped.”

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It was attempted in 2016. Not only did numerous watch dogs and political sites run live blog or twitter based fact checks. But IIRC CNN attempted live fact checking in the chyron running under one of the debates.

They really couldn’t keep up. Falling into the classic problem with refuting everything in these situations. They got bogged down chasing every falsehood and fell behind.

What you need is a really well prepped, good sized fact check team to back up the moderator. The moderator needs to break in to call out falsehoods when they’re identified. And penalize the candidate by revoking the rest of their speaking time.

That a candidate has been penalized, and that one has lied more often will be impossible to ignore. And the penalty both prevents further false statements, and prevents them from continuing on in kind as if nothing happened.

Making this a pre-established rule and publishing the fact check that triggered it undermines any bias accusations.


I’m sorry, but if you are truly progressive and 1) see children held in cages, 2) cozying up to dictators, 3) people being denied asylum, 4) women being denied the right to abortion, 5) people being denied health care 6) countless other atrocities and you are not motivated to vote then screw you. It means that none of things will affect you so you are the very definition of someone who is privileged.


This type of thinking doesn’t consider that the other side would change their tactics if the rules of the game changed. For example, if we eliminated the electoral college then Republicans might campaign more in California or New York. They wouldn’t win in those states, but they might turn out more of their voters. The Democrats might still come out on top if that happened, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.

Also, there have been elections in the past where ti could have easily gone the other way. When Kerry ran against Bush, Kerry lost the popular vote by 3 million votes but if just 120,000 votes flipped for Kerry in Ohio, he would have been president.

I’m all for eliminating the electoral college, but it’s a more complicated picture than is typically presented.

Even to the extent that there was triangulation in that. There was a very different population and voter base at the time then now. The US underwent a serious rightward shift from the 70’s to the 90’s. As in people were actually more conservative then they were previously. Bill Clinton and the generation of young Democrats who came up during that era ended up more conservative, sitting center to center right. Less via triangulation, than because that’s what voters at the time, including Democrats and plenty of non-white demographics, wanted. Left wing and progressive candidates who made it through that era did so by triangulation. But in large part that generation of politicians ended up center right by selection. Those that weren’t, didn’t win.

But trying to tack that way these days is likely just fruitless. We’re undergoing just as fast a demographic and political shift in the other direction right now. With a big ole disparity in terms of party affiliation, opinions on key issues, and other things between the generation that put Clinton at the fore front of the DNC (and Reagan and both Bushes in the white house) and the ones that are starting to take precident in the electorate. And those trends are expected to accelerate as the electorate gets less white, and younger Americans enter voting age.

Basically attempting to repeat that as a tactic is a disaster. Because it plays to a population and environment that no longer exists. You’re chasing after a portion of the electorate that’s rapidly loosing it’s influence, much of which has already been peeled off by the hard right.

We’re already at a point where that really only plays in some odd ball red states, and a couple of the so called “purple states”. And the margins it wins you are single digit. There’s a reason the GOP has had to manipulate the playing field so much to keep their current level of control.

You might be able to eek a win out of the next election or two with the attempt, if everything else goes right. But plan for the future of the party this ain’t.