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[COMMENTARY] It’s Really Happening: What to Expect from the First Debate

Despite the bombshell story regarding his taxes that exploded over the weekend, Donald Trump is still planning on showing up to Tuesday night’s first Presidential Debate, moderated by Fox News host Chris Wallace. Trump and his team have acknowledged that Joe Biden is a tough opponent and a skilled debater, while also laying the groundwork for his defeat by saying he’s going to be treated “unfairly”. Biden certainly has plenty of ammunition from just the last few weeks, and moderator Wallace has said he won’t be fact-checking the candidates in real time. Media critics are making their own predictions, so allow me to follow suit with my own thoughts.

Obviously, Trump is going to lie so much, it’ll be difficult to make sure the real truth gets out there (you can always follow me on Twitter @taradublinrocks since I’ll be live-tweeting and leaning on some big names who’ll be fact-checking as fast as they can. Even if you might not be the biggest fan of CNN, I strongly recommend following CNN’s Daniel Dale. He’s a human fact-checking machine and he’ll be an essential resource as Trump rattles off misinformation. And hopefully Joe will respond with, “That’s a lie, but” and finish with the real truth.

These debates reveal a candidate’s true self during the unguarded moments when they’ve been asked something they’re not quite ready for or when their opponent attacks them. The debates are won in these smaller moments because memorizing facts or listing off policies aren’t what the audience remembers the most. They’ll recall the candidates’ competency, or lack thereof, but mostly the court of public opinion is based on how they reacted to the questions and to each other.

There’s what I’d like to see from Joe Biden, and what we’ll end up seeing as the very unprepared Trump will be using all of his usual dirty tricks to derail the process. Trump’s niece Mary L. Trump has appeared on several MSNBC shows advising Biden to only address Trump as “Donald”, which she says will get under his thin skin. Joe tends to lean towards being respectful, but this is one time I hope he sets aside decorum to set his opponent on edge. I also hope that if Trump decides to go low and call Biden “Sleepy Joe” to the man’s face, Joe will come back with an appropriately vigorous and snappy response.

While moderator Wallace had set the topics for the debate prior to the news about Trump’s tax returns, that doesn’t mean they’re off the table. Expect jabs from Joe regarding the taxes–especially since his own campaign already is taking advantage of the latest Trump scandal with an epic troll you can put on any flat surface.

And they’re $7.50. That’s trolling at the highest level, right up there with Joe Biden’s best campaign ad ever.

Biden can also lean on his record, while Trump can’t do that with his own. Biden can point out that a successful businessman neither bankrupts casinos nor his partners; that a successful President doesn’t have a body count of over 207,000; that a true leader doesn’t insult the military, women, minorities, or his own voting base; that a true public servant puts the needs of the country over themselves. There is still that segment of the population who will stay loyal to Trump no matter his tax fraud or history of racism, or any of the other things that are constantly being revealed about him and his children.

Their adult children are another topic Trump would be smart to avoid, especially since they’re implicated in his tax returns scandal, plus Eric has to appear in court in New York before the election. Hunter Biden has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the manufactured Burisma scandal, but Trump’s kids are still trying to make something out of that.

It’s going to be a rough 90 minutes to sit through. I’ll be doing a post-mortem Wednesday morning to see just how many predictions came true.



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