This article appeared online at on Thursday, October 22, 2020:  

In her effort to protect Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden from addressing the hard issues that voters care about most, the moderator of tonight’s presidential debate, Kristen Welker, has instead provided a list of “off-topic topics.” They include COVID, American families, race relations, climate change, national security, and the most ephemeral topic of all: “leadership.”

While including “climate change,” which most voters aren’t interested in (according to studies by Gallup, Pew, Kaiser and Rasmussen), she neatly avoids those topics voters are interested in: the economy, law and order, and the Huntergate scandal.

Hogan Gidley, the national press secretary for the Trump 2020 campaign, said, “All the issues voters care about are places where President Donald Trump has succeeded.… Notice [that she and the committee] took away the topic of foreign policy. Of course they would. President Trump has a record of success there too. He’s already been nominated for a Nobel Peace prize multiple times because of his work in the Middle East.… He got two peace deals. He’s drawing down troops from our foreign wars.”

Samantha Zager, deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign, said the president’s strategy is largely to ignore Welker’s topics and direct his attacks on where Biden is the most vulnerable and least forthright: “everything from court packing to his lies about his family’s corruption during his vice presidency.” That corruption issue, according to the campaign’s pollster John McLaughlin, is “the top negative for Joe Biden … that’s coming from social media, word of mouth [and] emails.”

Victor Davis Hanson, professor emeritus of classics at California State University and a commentator on contemporary politics for National Review, sees the race to the White House narrowing: “If the trend continues at the current rate, President Trump could poll even in two weeks … [with some] polls that show him near there already.”

To keep his momentum, Trump should press the issue on the topics that Welker and Biden want to avoid: the scandal surrounding Hunter, his stated intentions to ban fracking, packing the court, and his support for the New Deal.

Writes Hanson:

The advice Trump is receiving … is sound: be aggressive [and] firmly demonstrate to the American people that Biden cannot honestly answer questions [about these topics] because to do so for him would either offend the Left or the majority of the American people.


Trump can run on his record, writes Hanson: “expanding the economy, stopping most illegal immigration, empowering minorities economically … making superb judicial appointments … confronting China, restoring the industrial heartland and ending optional overseas interventions.”

In refuting the inevitable charge from Biden that Trump has mishandled his response to the COVID virus, Hanson says it’s easy: just remind the folks “that seven months of lockdowns now are doing more cumulative damage to the health and lives of Americans than the virus.”

There are just two suggestions Hanson makes that could improve Trump’s performance tonight: recount his victories and successes using “we” instead of “I”; and when Biden waffles or Welker interrupts, he should respond with “There you go again,” the phrase that catapulted Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980 over Jimmy Carter.

Finally, suggests Hanson, Trump could conclude his final remarks with this:

Whatever your politics, join me in restoring our institutions.


Americans, left or right, Republican or Democrat, cannot remain free if our traditional and social are not independent and fair.


None of us will have a future if our elite collude with China to further its interests over ours.


Without the police, none of us are safe, in the inner city or the suburbs.


And we all want Washington officials to serve Americans, not waste our precious resources trying to destroy them.


Don’t help Joe Biden make America into something it never was and must never be.

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