Like a Moth To A Flame: The Town Hall Trap for Trump
The best decision that Donald Trump can do in this Town Hall debate (the 2nd of 3) is not attend one. This is isn’t a joke or a slight. It’s actually one of the most important ones, and I doubt Trump will change his tactic. So the most lethal thing that Trump can do, is the one thing Hillary will want him to do, and the most predictable:
Double down and be harder on her.
This is why, if I am correct, will be the worst possible thing he can do in this exact Town Hall situation. What makes this a critical debate is the engagement of other people, adding another variable to the equation: the town hall audience. This is no longer just a moderator and two candidates attacking each other. This is the issues of the American people, and the understanding of those issues and how they will solve these problems.
At first you’d think it’s brilliant strategy for Trump to double down and attack her. But here is why it will fail in this specific setting. The variable of the audience will only listen to the attack for so long, before they want to figure out how he will solve the problem. In other words, he can only bitch so long, before someone is going to want to know how, specifically, he will fix it. Bitching will not be enough.
This is exactly what Hillary should want from him.
Because Hillary will demonstrate why she connects to the audience, and how she wants to help solve their problems. That she has genuine interest in actually solving the problem, and creating a solution. She will try to connect to the audience. Trump will not. He will continue to focus on her like a hawk. Subconsciously, the audience will realize that he is more interested in attacking her, then making a connection to them. So why is this important and why does it sound familiar? Because that is exactly what Bill Clinton did against George H Bush in the exact town hall setting in the debates.
If you ever watch the town hall debates between the two, you’ll notice that Bill Clinton engaged fully and empathetically with the audience members when they asked a question. He made sure to express to them how they felt, what they were going through. He got to their core of emotional understanding. On the opposite end, George H. Bush was cold and logical, sometimes disconnected, even famously (or infamously) looking at his watch, disengaged. This was absolutely critical.
Hillary would be completely stupid to not steal this in her playbook. Every time an audience member will want to look to Trump for a solution, he will take the bait and just bitch with no real solution. Hillary will turn it around, and not only offer empathy to the person asking it, but offer them a solution in a way the audience member will engage with her that she understands him.
Trump will be seen as man who is more engaged in the destruction of Hillary Clinton, then the engagement with the people in the crowd. This will blind him, and people, subconsciously will feel it. They won’t even be aware of it and why the feel it. They will feel disconnected from him, and she will continue to fill that pocket, over and over. Yes, she will attack back, but she will make her focus of the audience as much as Trump, if not more. Trump will focus on Hillary with a few hints of caring for the audience. And the more Trump even senses that Hillary is even gaining this kind of empathy from the audience, the more he will focus on her. He will pick up on the subconscious cues of the crowd, which will send him over the edge to attack more.
Like a hawk going for his prey, he will be blindsided. He will think the way to keep winning is to keep attacking, not realizing, that his lack of social awareness, is what is feeding his down fall. Which is what Hillary is counting on. Even if he doesn’t become unhinged (which would be surprising if he didn’t), he will lose control of his perception and sense the audience is not with him.
Hook. line and sinker.
What makes this even more interesting is the variable of the audience here. So there are many things I cannot predict, because of this extra variable. This will include how Hillary deals with her critics as well. But over all, pay attention to what each candidate spends the most time focusing on: either the other candidate or the audience. He or she who has more time with the audience than the other wins.
Trump is like a moth to a flame, burned by his own desire.