Watching the 2016 Debates Offers a Lesson for Biden

Don't underestimate the president's effective, unorthodox style, says a Politico analysis
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2020 9:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – So how important is Tuesday night's debate? Oh, it's only "one of the more important moments in American political history," in the view of former Obama adviser David Plouffe. If Joe Biden "has a really strong debate, it doesn't mean the rest of them don't matter, but I think they'll matter less—and I think he will cement a lot of the gains and leads he has in this election,” Plouffe said on his podcast last week, per USA Today. The debate begins at 9pm ET and will be on all the major networks and livestreamed. Coverage:

  • Underestimated: A story at Politico makes the case that President Trump, not Biden, is the candidate going into this debate underestimated. Ryan Lizza went back and watched Trump's debates in the 2016 race and found that "what comes across in hindsight is that he had an under-appreciated style, strategy, and message." In the GOP debates, he wasn't the "crude" Trump of Twitter or MAGA rallies, where he comes off as a "demagogue," but he learned to "master and dominate" his Republican rivals just the same. That Trump, an inexperienced debater, also "was extraordinarily effective against someone as skilled as Hillary Clinton in the three general election debates" is further proof that "he shouldn’t be underestimated." The full analysis has details from those debates to back things up.

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