posted at 8:01 pm on September 26, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
Update, 8:07 ET: Getting ready to go live again on Townhall’s Facebook Live as CNN shows Donald Trump arriving at Hofstra. He’s wearing a blue tie rather than red, but that’s more of a corporate power-tie color. Join us at 8:20 ET for our second preview of the debate.
Are you ready for some [political] football? If you’re more ready for the other kind of football, the Falcons will take on the Saints in New Orleans, but most of us will have our eyes glued to the scrimmage taking place at Hofstra University. Townhall’s Guy Benson and Katie Pavlich will be on site at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, while I will live blog the debate from the Townhall Media Group offices in Washington DC. Earlier this evening, Matt Vespa and Leigh Wolf joined me for a preliminary preview of debate, on Facebook Live through the Townhall page:
One of the major themes — at least in the media — is whether Clinton will get the respect she “deserves” from Trump. Maybe they’re looking in the wrong places for disrespect:
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 26, 2016
D’oh! I will also host another preview at 8:20 ET on Facebook Live with more of the Townhall crew, plus a 10:30 pm wrapup at the same page. Late last week, I offered my perspective on how Trump can win his first head-to-head debate:
Trump has to refocus that argument on the Clinton establishment and the corruption between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation – such as the discovery by the Washington Examiner that nearly 40 percent of State Department appointments to advisory boards went to foundation donors. Anti-establishment fervor drove the 2016 primary cycle and remains a potent force, and only Trump has an opening to define the election on those populist terms.
National security will play a big role in the debate, and that favors Clinton to some degree because of her four years as Secretary of State. Trump has openings there, too, especially when it comes to issues such as Libya and Egypt. Trump met with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi earlier this week, offering the firm friendship of the US in a Trump administration.
Trump should use that to remind viewers of the Obama administration’s disastrous Arab Spring policies, which turned Libya into a failed state and nearly did the same thing to Egypt, or worse, leaving it in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that has spun off terrorists like Hamas and al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri. If Trump really finds his pace, he can challenge Hillary to name specific accomplishments from her tenure at State, especially in the realm of national security, as her surrogates continue to get stumped on that question.
All of this advice is predicated on Trump’s sense of discipline and preparation, and that’s based on his improved performance on the campaign trail since mid-August. Will he succeed in sticking to a strategy and win the debate? To parallel Silver, the Trump from six weeks ago might have had a one-in-ten shot, but the Trump – and Clinton – of late make it almost a 50:50 proposition.
As usual, updates to this post will take place in reverse chronological order at the top of the post, with the most recent on top. Be sure to keep up with all of my Townhall colleagues, too.