Trump needs to impress in the next debate round, if he wants his momentum to continue.
Many of the same who are urging Trump to avoid the next round of debates are the same who are critical of President Obama’s perceived lack of willingness to stand firm when facing those same types of international players, the ones the next president will surely face. In truth, world leaders, particularly those we do not consider allies, have been emboldened by Obama’s sometimes-tepid responses and will certainly try to test the waters in the first year or two, to see how the next president will react.
So it would seem that Trump has a great deal to lose, whether he shows up to debate or not. He was certainly not considered to be impressive in Monday’s first debate, and seemed to get rattled near the end, and that didn’t sit well with some viewers.
One got the feeling that he was just on the edge of an outburst that would lead the public to believe his reputation as a hot-head was completely justified, and such an outburst would surely dissuade many on the fence to consider him as not deserving of the position. But to his credit, he did not erupt, and except for some tell-tale facial expressions, maintained his cool.
Trump simply can’t afford to look as if he is afraid of debating Clinton, and Clinton knows she needs to rally her base, while cutting into his. She will be just as aggressive in her accusations about Trump’s past and his policies, looking to push his buttons, as she did in the first debate, and Trump would do well to better prepare for the second round.
Trump can’t depend on the moderator to open the debate about Secretary Clinton’s shortcomings, scandals, or her policies. He had several opportunities in the last debate that he could have taken to introduce those points, yet chose to spend his time defending Clinton’s accusations instead. To survive and possibly persuade those who doubt him, he must change the narrative, and appear to be presidential material in the process.
To use a sports metaphor, Clinton played field position on Trump almost all night, keeping him pinned in the shadow of his own goal. Trump will need to flip the field to turn the game in his favor. He can’t do that if he is sitting on the sidelines.