In “Debating the Donald”, college debate coaches from around the United States take a look at what is like to debate Donald Trump on a political stage by analyzing his performance in the Republican primary debates and foreshadow the Presidential debates between Trump and Hillary Clinton.
University of Miami Assistant Director of Debate and Lecturer in Communication, Patrick Waldinger, wrote Chapter 12, “GOP Primary Debate #12”. The chapter is about Trump’s performance and strategy in the 12th Republican primary debate hosted at the University of Miami. Here is the abstract of the chapter:
On March 10, 2016, the University of Miami hosted the 12th Republican primary debate and, ultimately, Donald Trump’s final official debate before he squares off with Hillary Clinton in the Presidential debates. The spotlight was bright on the Miami debate, just one week after the “uncivil” Detroit debate, to see whether the candidates would continue with personal attacks. Unlike the Detroit debate, Trump did not instigate his opponents and played defense against their mild attacks. Trump focused on his main themes – immigration, jobs, deal making and his position as an outsider in the race – but specific policy details were lacking. Trump’s ultimate debate strategy in Miami was to win by not losing. Trump knew that he had to debate in Miami to avoid a political hit similar to the one he took in Iowa but was biding time until he won Florida to eschew the future Republican debates. Trump’s strategy to lay low and avoid big fights was likely a result of timing and his front-runner status for the Republican Presidential nomination and is unlikely to be his future strategy against Clinton. However, there is much to take away from Trump’s performance in the Miami debate and how it foreshadows the Presidential debates.
Synopsis of “Debating the Donald”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump entered the 2016 election race with no political or debate experience. He had extremely low expectations heading into his first primary debate hosted by Fox News in Cleveland, Ohio on August 6, 2015. Trump took advantage of this and easily won the first debate, which catapulted him to permanent frontrunner status and he never looked back. He participated in ten additional primary debates, while choosing to boycott the event in Des Moines, Iowa in January of 2016. Nearly 200 million viewers watched the GOP primary debates and Trump’s reality television star background played a major role in this phenomenon. In “Debating The Donald”, a dozen debate experts from around the United States analyze Trump’s performances in the primary debates. They discuss what techniques were employed by the candidate to yield successful results. Finally, the authors predict how style and content from Trump’s primary debates will influence his three general election showdowns with Hillary Clinton in the fall. The first Trump-Clinton debate at Hofstra University in New York will have a Super Bowl-like atmosphere and will truly be must-see TV.
Dr. Brett Bricker, Associate Director of and Specialist in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas
Dr. David Cram Helwich, Director of Debate and Senior Lecturer in Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota
Kurt Fifelski, MPA and Assistant Director of Debate at the University of Michigan and University of Michigan Debate Institute
Dr. Ryan Galloway, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Director of Debate at Samford University
Aaron Kall, Director of Debate at the University of Michigan and University of Michigan Debate Institute
Dr. Eric Morris, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Forensics at Missouri State University
Dr. Will Mosley-Jensen, Director of Debate and Assistant Professor of Human Communication at Trinity University
Dr. Sarah Partlow-Lefevre, Professor of Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Director of Debate at Idaho State University
Dr. Sarah Topp, Litigation Consultant at JurySync and M.A. and Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas
Dr. Ben Voth, Associate Professor of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and Director of Debate at Southern Methodist University
Patrick Waldinger, Assistant Director of Debate and Lecturer in the School of Communication at the University of Miami
Dr. Kelly Young, Associate Professor of Communication and the Director of Forensics at Wayne State University