So this next debate is a town hall event (i.e. a small, intimate setting where the candidates will speak to voters one on one). This is a real problem for Trump and a serious opportunity for Clinton.
During the Democratic primaries, a lot of Bernie people were bragging (much like Trump but without the white supremacy) that Bernie was attracting huge crowds while Clinton could hardly fill a small room. This was when I truly understood that anti-Hillary people do not know her in the slightest.
A few outlets like Vox have tried to get this point across: Hillary Clinton is a woman and her strengths are very different than a man’s. She listens and connects with people on a more personal level. She is not suited to bellowing at large crowds and whipping them into a frenzy. She is, however, very VERY good at the small gatherings that were a staple of her very successful primary campaign.
Trump is a loud and obnoxious bully who thinks everyone is beneath him. Every time a member of the audience asks him a hostile question, his body language will scream “Fuck you, you peon!” Hillary will radiate understanding and warmth. Trump will project the exact kind of disdain for the little people that Americans deeply dislike.
A town hall setting will also play to Hillary’s greatest strength and Trump’s greatest weakness: Her incredible intelligence and his shallow ignorance.
Town halls are unpredictable and the questions can be from very far out of left field. This is not a problem for Hillary, who Chuck Todd ludicrously called “over-prepared” for the debate (because Chuck Todd is an insipid asshole). Hillary is so well versed on some many topics that catching her off-guard is nigh impossible.
Trump is a different story altogether. His profound ignorance continues to be a serious liability and in a town hall, it becomes a deadly threat. Trump is not a polished speaker that can vamp and spin a topic he doesn’t know to make it seem like he does. He goes off on tangents and reveals just how little he knows.
Even worse, Trump will be itching for payback and his primary target seems to be Bill Clinton’s infidelities. This plays well in large howling crowds but up and close and personal, we’re going to see people cringe and that will be toxic for Trump.
Hillary got a tidy bump after her commanding performance and Trump’s dismal collapse. After the next debate, that bump could become a small but insurmountable mountain for Trump.
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