Updated: May 28, 2021
I know the debate felt chaotic and unwatchable, but as mad as Trump sounded and looked, he was, as always, incredibly strategic. The best way to understand who is winning this election is by decoding Trump's strategy. This debate showed me that he had changed his approach from a few months back.
Trump likes to say that polls are fake, that the last election, the same thing happened, and he still won. You cannot win an election with three million fewer votes without being excruciatingly strategic about your campaign. Trump follows the polls more than anybody else in the world. Every interruption he makes (every single one of them) is for a reason. Most of these interruptions are code words that are familiar to the ears of his base. These words don't need to carry any meaning or substance. They represent meaning in the mind of his audience, almost like a genre film. A desert, a cactus, a cowboy... it's a western! Here some of the words Trump threw out in the middle of the debate. And most of the time, without any reason. "Socialist," "Left," "Hillary Clinton," "Antifa," "economy," "Bernie Sanders," etc. He does it like any good film-maker (art-maker). He creates an illusion. Why? Because he cares about polls more than any other person on the planet.
But, there was something very illuminating about this debate that hit me hard. For a long time, Trump's campaign strategy has been getting rid of the gray area. The division has been what he strived for. You are either with me or with the socialist left. (Unfortunately, the two-party system helps him too.) But tonight, it was clear to me that he genuinely thinks he's behind. Not saying he thinks he is losing! He knows very well that he is behind. The 2016 strategy of deterring people from voting by targeting a specific population based on the data his campaign has collected through different sources such as Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, etc. and sending them strategized ads is not working this year unlike 2016.
Trump, at the same time, has shown the path to victory to his fans. "Voting by mail is fraudulent; voting in person is the way to do it." And he also tells those who want to vote against him and in-person: "My thugs are waiting for you at the polling stations. Who knows, maybe one of them does not like how you look and punch you in the face. Or maybe they are practicing The Second Amendment rights and carrying a rifle that day. All in all, beware of the dogs."
Trump always starts a game and forces his opponents to participate. And down the way, he establishes the rules of the game. His campaign is all about stopping people from voting, especially in person! If he wins in the polling stations and then loses when the ballots come in, he will take out of the hat, the already established "fraudulent argument," then he takes the issue to the "Republican" supreme court, and wins the election. Basically, he plans to win this election with maybe five million fewer votes than his opponent, maybe ten, or even more. The whole country could turn red, with 35% of eligible voters participating in-person in the election. He doesn't care. He wants to deter people from voting in-person or voting at all. And democrats, by insisting on the falsehood of his claims, are actually helping him. The only way to beat Trump without any significant hiccups is by winning the vote at the first stage of the election, which is the voting stations. Go vote but vote IN-PERSON if you can. I know with COVID and Trump supporters at the stations, it is not the most desirable endeavor, but it is the only tangible way. He is using every single piece of the chessboard, including people's health and well-being, to his benefit.
He may look like a clown and act like a clown, but he is a serious problem, deadly serious.
No one cares about the polls more than Donald Trump, and he is planning to steal this election right before our eyes like a master magician or a forger. He laughs while the world burns—the ultimate sinister.