Why Donald Trump will do even worse in the second debate

Can Trump win the next debate? Only if he becomes a completely different person.

To bounce back, Trump would have to change Trump.
(Image credit: AP Photo/John Locher)

Can Donald Trump become a better debater?

Many past presidential candidates have performed poorly in their first debate, figured out where and how they erred, and improved accordingly in the subsequent face-offs. In 2012, President Obama seemed unfocused and almost lethargic in his first debate with Mitt Romney, which aides put down to overconfidence and lack of preparation; he was much more engaged and aggressive in the next two. In 1984, Ronald Reagan seemed confused and almost incoherent at points in his first debate with Walter Mondale, raising questions about whether the 72-year-old president still had his wits about him; he came back in the next one and made a quip about the issue ("I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience"). Everyone laughed and pretended the whole thing never happened in the first debate.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us