The final debate of the Presidential campaign….and, the winner is? Kristen Welker, the moderator! She actually managed to moderate a discussion of sorts.
The key question to ask, after watching the debate or hearing the news reports, are you more inclined to vote for Donald Trump?
Going into the debate, I know of no poll suggesting the momentum had shifted. Polls tell us where voters are at the moment; and, at the moment a decisive majority of voters have trended to Joe Biden.
All the Trump campaign can do is wake up this morning and seek opportunities in key states.
However, to create an opportunity for Trump, voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida and even Texas would have to had seen something about President Donald Trump to encourage them to support his reelection. Only time will tell whether this final debate made a difference in these key states.
There is a good deal of talk about how 48 million people have already voted. Truth is, that really is not all that relevant. Those voters had already made up their mind and it is highly unlikely that anything in last night’s debate would have moved them in a new direction. For most people, the discussion probably reinforced their views going into the evening.
What is important, is how many people go out and vote this weekend. If the numbers are high, it would suggest that people waited for the last debate and then decided. I would not be surprised to see early voting growing.
One other challenge for President Trump. While millions of people watched the debate and the follow on press coverage, millions will also watch President Trump’s performance this Sunday evening on 60 Minutes. And, thanks to the decision by President Trump to release his video of the interview, we know how that will go. And, there is no chance the 60 Minutes version of the interview will be better than the Trump video. What is clear is that most of the interview was a verbal battle over whether the President has a health care plan and on just how damaging Hunter Biden might be to his father’s campaign.
Health care is an important issue, but after watching the 60 Minute interview, Lesley Stahl will repeatedly remind people that the President has no health care plan. And, to the extent the President spends time trying to advance a Hunter Biden story, he is, in my opinion, dwelling on a topic few care to understand and even fewer will be moved by when it comes to their vote. Even on the President’s video, on neither topic did he look particularly strong.
So, the two major media events in the final days of the campaign stand little chance of moving the needle much when it comes to the electorate. In the end, the outcome surely hinges on something as old as elections themselves, voter turnout. If you care about how this election turns out, go out and vote!
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore.