Donald Trump, who is always susceptible to the lure of praise and flattery, is putting his need for validation on particular display following the final debate with his challenger, Joe Biden. The incumbent president looked less than thrilled with his own performance immediately after the event, and has spent the time since rewteeting posts from anyone who says he did well.
Donald Trump, who spent some of his uninterrupted answer periods ignoring the question in order to instead assail the character of Joe Biden and his son, bringing up unconfirmed propaganda that is still under investigation, left the stage with an expression that didn’t exactly look like a man taking a victory lap.
Does it look like he thinks he won? pic.twitter.com/jIHDnXfZJy
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 23, 2020
Then he started the process of declaring victory. He tweeted screenshots from various polls that currently had him in the lead — such as one from the Daily Wire.
By Friday morning, the Daily Wire poll had shifted — as you can see in a screenshot below, Trump was still winning this poll when there were ten hours left on it, though by a smaller margin. Below the screenshot, see the embedded tweet for the real-time current count.
Okay. Who won the night?
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) October 23, 2020
Using an early screengrab allows Trump’s timeline to continue to show a massive victory, no matter what the poll does from there.
He also tweeted a poll from Sharyl Attkisson — who bills herself as a nonpartisan journalist, but also retweeted mockery of Biden’s speech disorder, and is marketing a book she wrote about how mean the media is to Donald Trump. As one commenter pointed out, many of these polls show more about who follows a given account than they do about the opinion of the public as a whole.
This poll says more about who follows you than about the debate.
— Jordan (@JrdanianRhpsody) October 23, 2020
Of course, there’s another problem with these polls. Michael Cohen described, in his book, Disloyal, how he would pay to have a large number of votes added to polling that was slightly more rigorous than a tweet — so it’s clear that Trump knows weighting polls in his favor is an option.
Trump tweeted a similar poll from the Las Vegas Review Journal. Like the one from Daily Wire, by Friday morning he was still winning that one, by a lesser margin, and still with ten hours to go.
POLL: Who won tonight's presidential debate? #Debates2020See Also
— Las Vegas Review-Journal (@reviewjournal) October 23, 2020
Cohen, incidentally, weighed in on this particular poll, noting not only the relationship between Trump and the owner of the publication, but again, Trump’s need to feed his ego.
So @realDonaldTrump @POTUS wants to know who you think won last nights debate.? And to feed his insatiable ego, he directs you to the Las Vegas Review Journal. Why? Because it’s owned by his largest donor, Sheldon Adelson. #StableGenius pic.twitter.com/MAde4rIoCD
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) October 23, 2020
The president further retweeted individuals who praised his performance, including Megyn Kelly, who he famously attacked in his 2016 campaign.
The outcome of the debates is, obviously, significantly partisan, with most viewers deciding a winner before the first soundcheck. Analysis of the debate responses is valid and valuable, but overall, a candidate being declared a winner by people who already supported him isn’t very meaningful.
However, Donald Trump is behind in polls, and even his own people have said they’re fearing a Biden landslide — or a “Republican bloodbath.” In these last days before America makes a decision, Trump’s frantic retweets of any available support has the appearance of grappling for validation.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com