Presidential Debate Preview and Predictions | First Debate, 2016

Presidential Debate Preview and Predictions

The first debate gets me giddy just like the Super Bowl or March Madness does. 2016’s first presidential debate is on Monday, September 26th, and I’m expecting a few fireworks. Here are my messaging suggestions and predictions for the first presidential debate of 2016.

What Hillary Clinton Should Say in the Debate


Hillary Clinton should directly label Trump a conman in the first debate. If conman sounds too cool, she could try using huckster, circus barker, swindler, fraud or liar. She should pick one of these words, and label Trump with it. She should memorize the 19 pages of Trump lies and lambaste him with them. Like he created Lyin’ Ted and Crooked Hillary, she needs to create the idea of Don the Con. Clinton should also create a slogan to accompany her fact-checking and new labeling. She needs a regurgitate lines like “Another Day, Another Lie”, or “Don the Con Lies Again”, “A Tower or Lies”. She needs to interrupt Donald Trump with the slogan every time he lies on stage.

Progressive Promises

Clinton should make direct promises to progressives. She should avoid sounding political and be direct. She needs to tell progressives specifically that the message is for them, and make specific progressive policy promises. For instance, she could promise support for the Dakota Pipeline Protests. She should call for specific policy measures that protect indigenous peoples. She needs to promise to stand with progressives and not to “pivot to the center”.

What Hillary Clinton Should NOT Say in the Debate

Mark Cuban

If Clinton brings up Mark Cuban and his recent announcement that he thinks Trump is batshit crazy, Trump is sure to bring up Gennifer Flowers. Hillary does not want that. Democrats should not want that, especially since Trump has proven he will utilize a narrative that says Hillary bullied women to protect Bill. Do not bring him up.

What Donald Trump Should Say in the Debate


It’s hard to predict exactly what Trump will say, but he must prove that he is a serious candidate capable of handling serious things. He can’t be seen as a clown in this debate if he wants his momentum to continue.  He may be smart to even repeat the words, “I’m serious” throughout the debate, as opposed to his usual, “it’s true”. If Hillary laughs, as she often does, Trump should pounce and claim, “I actually takes this seriously. I’m not here for fun. I’m serious.”

The Alt-Right

Trump needs to vocally take this group in as his own. The alt-right provides an “in” for the young, the LGBT, and the disenfranchised (for reasons too frustrating to discuss here). Trump needs to actively recruit people to this group and name specific people he sees as leaders of the movement. He should define the movement himself.

Police Brutality

Though not in line with the Alt-Right movement, the debate is Trump’s opportunity to talk about Black Lives Matter and the Colin Kaepernick protest. Trump claims to be better for black people, now he has a chance to fabricate some evidence. Donald Trump needs to “understand” why protests are happening without angering the right-wing.

What Donald Trump Should NOT Say in the Debate

Gennifer Flowers

Though Trump is certain to bring Gennifer Flowers into the debate if Mark Cuban comes into it, Clinton will be able to easily swerve the narrative to be about trump’s lack of seriousness. Donald Trump should not mention Flowers during the first debate. And probably not ever. If he thinks the narrative will help him, he should let others talk about it. If not, he is destined to be labeled a clown forever.

Ryan Black is a content creator, marketing professional, and political consultant who writes about Progressive Politics.

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