Surely there are worse tasks than debating Donald Trump. It’s just hard to imagine what they are. As an expert in heavy lifts ― try having Bill Clinton as a husband ― Hillary Rodham Clinton has no peer in politics. But even she is going to have her hands full in the three-debate series scheduled to begin on Sept. 26.
Trump’s only debate “loss” in the Republican nominating race came in the one debate he didn’t attend. (He was pummeled for not showing up.) In the rest, he was the giant tangerine bowling ball knocking over hapless pins, collecting the spare by taking out the 10 pin on the far right named Ted Cruz.
So far, only in a court of law ― under threat of prosecution for perjury ― has Trump ever played by the higher rules of human discourse and told the truth, however reluctantly. The rest of the time, he says what he wants, attacks at will, disregards decorum and regards honesty as the currency of wimps.
How do you attack Trump and, just as important, defend yourself? Here, based on covering and kibitzing about presidential debates for lo these many years, is our First to Last cheat sheet.