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Beau of the Fifth Column: Trump back on Twitter

Trump's Announcement - Lincoln Project

The reviews are in: They're not good

How Arizona's Governor-Elect Katie Hobbs Beat Crazytown

Pundits slammed her low-key campaign and skipping debates with Kari Lake, the polished former news anchor—but look who’s laughing now.


Exactly one week before Election Day, Kari Lake, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arizona, held a boisterous rally with Steve Bannon, the indicted former Donald Trump aide whom Lake dubbed a “modern-day George Washington.” Local and national media outlets covered the event. On the same day, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Katie Hobbs, hosted a housing policy roundtable to draw attention to her affordable housing plan. Eleven people participated, including Hobbs. The event did not receive media coverage.

The contrasting campaign appearances capture the campaign dynamic. Lake wanted the spotlight. Hobbs wanted Lake to have the spotlight.

Hobbs was widely counted out after she refused to debate, saying, “It’s clear that Kari Lake is much more interested in creating a spectacle and having the spotlight than actually having a substantive discussion about the issues.”

Hobbs’s debate decision was based on a clear-eyed assessment of her own strengths and weaknesses. A high-profile media event benefits the candidate with superior media skills.

Such a gambit would not work if the public viewed a successful debate performance as equivalent to a job interview, a necessary bar to clear. But in my exploration of the debate over debates in (the Washington Monthly*) last month, I observed that modern debates are a far cry from Lincoln-Douglas. They are reality TV shows marked with soporific talking points and cheap insults. It’s not just that voters don’t care about debates. Voters have good reason not to care about debates. They are not especially useful at helping voters decide who is best suited to govern.

So instead of playing a game on her opponent’s turf, Hobbs changed the game.

* https://washingtonmonthly.com/2022/10/14/do-voters-care-about-debates-katie-hobbs-is-going-to-find-out/

(boldface emphasis mine - DMH)

Country Over Party - The Lincoln Project

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