09/30/11 12:00 pm
Your performance in the last two debates has fallen short of expectations.
Herewith, some thoughts on how to improve your performance in future debates.
Begin with a simple proposition: “Victory” in political debates is rarely achieved by the candidate who confines himself to concentrating on putting forth the most logical and compelling intellectual argument.
Victory is achieved, rather, by the candidate who does the best job of relating to the audience on an emotional level, making the audience feel as if he/she is the candidate who best understands their concerns and is most committed to working for their best interests. Victory is determined by an emotional response in the gut of the audience, rather than by an intellectual response in the mind of the audience. The heart, not the head, is the proper target.
This is not to suggest, however, that ideology plays no role in winning or losing debates; in fact, ideological contrasts, when used properly, can provide the winning contrast – but only when used to demonstrate an emotional connection, rather than intellectual or logical superiority. That is, ideological distinctions and contrasts should be used to demonstrate that one candidate “gets it,” or the other candidate is “out of touch” or “out of the mainstream,” rather than just being used to argue a position on an intellectual level.
This is the basis for the following Rules for Victory.