Countering the Gish Gallup and Preparing for the Next Debate

 

What Thursday’s debate proved was that Trump made use of a rhetorical technique called the Gish gallop, where one floods their opponent with a fast string of lies, non-sequiturs, and specious arguments. This tactic is also known as gaslighting. The goal is to overwhelm the opponent.

To counter this, Biden needed to be prepared with copy points, as we learned when we were touring and promoting our books.

The copy points needed to be embedded in our discussion of home business.Working these copy points into what we said was our main job. While we never had an interviewer as unhinged as Trump, we learned that it didn’t matter what attitude the interviewer had, whether friendly or challenging; there was what we were to do.

We were to acknowledge whatever was asked of us professionally in a short sentence or two. If the question was inaccurate or off-topic, we were to recognize it in a brief sentence and proceed to talk about home business with the embedded copy points.

Before my wife and I went on tour promoting our books, which rode the wave of personal computers entering people’s homes, we learned copy points over and over until we could have said them in our sleep.

Not that this wasn’t challenging and stressful sometimes, but it always worked because we knew what our sponsors expected of us.

So here is Sarah’s insight. Either Biden was really impaired that night, or he didn’t get this basic training. To have not gotten this training demonstrated

For each significant subject he was sure to be asked about (immigration, inflation, Israel, Hunter Biden, preserving democracy, etc.), he was rehearsed on a short set of specific, powerful copy points that he was to reply with. Period! Do not get distracted by any other points, such as golf handicaps, but work in your main copy points.

When Trump lied or misled in a way that hurt Biden, he should have been prepared to correct it in a brief sentence, such as “January 6th was not a friendly gathering” or “Actually, paying only $30 for insulin was something we did in our administration.”

Then, go straight into his copy points on the topic at hand, such as on medical care: “Do most people realize that part of the Project 2025 the Magaites have prepared is to abolish social security and Medicare or to change it so substantially that FDR would not recognize it?”

For example, do most people realize that part of the Project 2025 the Magaites have prepared is to abolish social security and Medicare or to change it so substantially that FDR would not recognize it?

I feel sad that he didn’t get this basic, simple structure, and even more tragic if he got it, thoroughly rehearsed it, but couldn’t do it.

The key to countering strategy is countering the Gish gallop and bluster with confidence, energy, and a combination of outrage and humor delivered in a manner that does not offend people in the audience.