Townhall Tango

Thursday night we had battling townhalls….Trump on NBC and Biden on ABC…..I gave an analysis on Friday’s post……https://lobotero.com/2020/10/16/those-battling-townhalls/

The whole evening was a study in chaos and conflict…..and I watched and read all the analyses and the noise surrounding the evening….

First let me say….Trump is the only person to lose a debate without having an opponent.

Thursday’s night presidential town halls were very different from each other, and a similar theme has emerged in the political post-mortems. What was originally supposed to be a face-to-face debate “morphed into a long-distance study in contrasts,” write Alexander Burns and Katie Glueck at the New York Times. Essentially, the events provided viewers with a choice: Which style of president do you want, combative or, well, dull?

  • The “dueling town halls were like a choose-your-own-ending book, letting us peer into the future and see what the two election outcomes would be like,” write Mike Allen and Margaret Talev at Axios.
  • “It came off less like a split screen than a breach in the political universe—Die Hard versus It’s a Wonderful Life,” per David Siders and Anita Kumar at Politico.
  • “On one channel, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. On the other, a rerun of Celebrity Deathmatch. Or, at least, that’s how it felt,” write Scott Bixby and Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast. That wasn’t the only comparison to Mister Rogers. Biden’s town hall “feels like I am watching an episode of Mister Rodgers [sic] Neighborhood,” tweeted Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp. USA Today notes that “Mr. Rogers” was soon trending.
  • The events “appeared to be broadcast from entirely different dimensions,” according to a story by Michael Scherer, Jenna Johnson, and Josh Dawsey in the Washington Post. “The soft-spoken Biden leaned back in a white chair, relaxed and conversational as he hit upon notes of optimism and uplift. Trump’s appearance was heated and at times abrasive, with the candidate leaning forward as he defended his record and challenged the motivations of moderator Savannah Guthrie.”
  • “In a nightmare alternate universe, Americans find hope by viewing films from a different dimension, where life unfolds as normal,” writes David Frum in the Atlantic. “That’s the plot of the Amazon science-fiction series The Man in the High Castle. It was also the experience many Americans had as they flipped back and forth between two town halls last night.”
  • “Unsurprisingly, Trump’s town hall was much more combative than Biden’s,” writes Kira Davis at RedState. “The Election Commission should have just gone ahead with an in-person debate, since Savannah Guthrie just ended up debating the president anyway. The ratings numbers will be interesting to see, but flipping back and forth between Trump and Biden, it was crystal clear that the more entertaining conversation was over at NBC.”
  • “As a journalist whose job involves trying to write articles people read, I was, frankly, sad to have been assigned to watch the Biden town hall, which was just not that interesting,” writes Matthew Yglesias at Vox. “But as a citizen, it was tremendously reassuring.”

All in all the evening was a waste of time……voters already know who they will vote for….all the evening was was either for entertainment…..or to induce the gag reflex.

But who won the numbers game?

Donald Trump often has been a TV ratings hit, but maybe not this time. Preliminary results from his nearly head-to-head matchup Thursday night with Joe Biden show the president bringing up the rear, Variety reports. Biden, whose 90-minute event was carried by ABC, is averaging 13.9 million total viewers in early returns. Trump’s hourlong appearance is coming in at 13.1 million combined on NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC. The difference was bigger when comparing the broadcast networks. MSNBC had about 1.7 million viewers and CNBC 700,000, which puts Biden ahead of Trump on the two major networks, 13.9 million to 10.7 million. The final numbers aren’t in yet. ABC’s livestream on YouTube also outdrew the Trump feed.

Before the town halls, both campaigns predicted a ratings triumph for Trump, per CNN; TV executives agreed. Jason Miller, a Trump campaign aide, had said, “We’re gonna have a much bigger audience than Joe.” But the former vice president has shown his ratings strength this campaign. The Democratic presidential nominee averaged 6.7 million viewers in a town hall shown last week on NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC, while Trump’s event last month on ABC drew 3.8 million. Biden also outdrew Trump in their national conventions this summer. Biden had 24.6 million viewers, while Trump drew 23.8 million to the Republican National Convention.

Will any of this equate to votes?

We have the 3rd and last debate in 5 days (that is if Trump does not find a way to weasel out of it)…..should prove to be as worthless as the past ones.

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