Who Wins Elections?

Or why Biden probably won’t win the election:

1. Appearances matter.

Watching the presidential debate I was shocked. Biden looks bad. Really bad. Bad in the sense that my gut reaction is that he looks extremely old, frail, and like he is going to kick the bucket any moment. And this is me (ERIC KIM) talking as a democrat and a liberal (born and raised in the Bay Area).

2. On using simple language

Donald Trump starting his first statement:

  1. We won the election”:
    1. Very very effective strategy. To appeal to the notion ‘we’ promotes a sense of fellowship and ‘in group’ dynamics. Also to say that we “WON” the election is also good … because we all want to feel like we are winners (not losers).
  2. “We have a phenomenal nominee, respected by all.”:
    1. By using vague verbiage is good … we prime our minds to think that ‘we’ have a ‘phenomenal’ nominee “respected by all”. This builds trust.
  3. “Top top academic”
    1. Also an effective strategy;; by repeating key and simple phrases better helps the message and idea stick.
  4. “Good in every way”
    1. Not only good academically, but also perhaps morally and ethically.
  5. “Single greatest student he has ever had” and “Professor for a long time at a great school”
    1. We understand ‘long time’ and we have respect for professors, and we might not know all the names of the great (Ivy League and UC schools), but we do trust a ‘great’ school.

Joe Biden on the other hand is very boring. None of his words have chutzpah, force, and he seems to ramble a lot.

3. Nobody really cares for high and mighty morals, ethics, virtues, and ‘principles’

Another thing we must be honest with ourselves in politics:

Politicians are more entertainers and figure-heads than real forces of change.

My friend Dave Paulson had an elegant theory:

Watching politics is like watching the WWE (World wrestling entertainment). It ain’t real.

Also leading up to the presidential debate … did you see the imagery? Of the two heads (Trump’s face directly -> to Biden’s Face <-)? It looks like more of a boxing match than a “pure” political debate.

Also -1 for Biden:

Better to speak simply and *NOT* stumble on your words than to speak more eloquently and stumble upon your words.

4. Fear and xeno-political ideology

Trump pretty smart in talking about Biden proposing ‘socialist’ health care. The vast majority of Americans are still anti ‘socialist’ (the vast majority of the American public are still Anti-Communist from the Cold War Era).

5. The upside of talking above someone else and interrupting others

To talk over someone is disrespectful and to interrupt others (as they are talking) is considered ‘morally abhorrent’, but the thing:

It works.

Once again, if we admit to ourselves that politics is a dirty game, then it seems whoever wants to win *MUST* use dirty tactics. To use the ‘high and moral high horse’ strategy of “following the rules” seems to be a losing strategy.

6. Quoting others that apparently you are ‘anti’

Another +1 for Trump:

Him quoting RGB, which signals that he isn’t actually anti-RGB.

7. Why does the moderator seem to be anti-Trump?

The hard thing:

The moderator *MUST* truly be a neutral party.

The vibes I was getting from the commentator is that he is anti-Trump. Seems to be counter-productive.

A thought:

Perhaps the political commentator should be a former politician … or perhaps a former US president, from 2 generations ago?

Would be interesting if we had George W. Bush to be the political moderator for the presidential debate on Trump vs Biden.

8. Best to refer to people by their first name?

Power move:

Refer people to their first name.

For example Trump was smart in calling the moderator by his first name (Chris), and also Biden by his first name (Joe).

9. Putting pressure on the other person, and making them squirm

Trump is probably lying most of the time, but it seems his oratorial strategy is this:

Put insane pressure on the other person, make them fumble their words, and squirm.

When talking about health care, Trump says something about Bernie Sanders which puts Joe Biden on off-footing, and Biden starts to stumble and mis-speak his words a bit. For example when he mis-speaks between Medicare and Medicaid.

10. Pausing seems like a silent admittance.

  • Trump: “You just lost the left!”
  • Biden: Silence

Another political tactic:

When you pause after someone accuses you of something … it seems like you silently admit defeat.

11. Name calling … in which scenario?

Joe Biden says:

“Do you have any idea what this clown [Trump] is doing?”

Seems like bad timing when talking about name-calling.

Trump also does name-calling and says demeaning things (not sure who he calls ‘Pocahontas’), but when one resorts to name-calling to buy oneself time to come up with a witty retort or when one resorts to name calling to defend oneself… it makes one look even weaker.

12. “This man”

Biden refers to Trump as ‘this man’, but this also seems like an act of weakness. Better for him to call Trump by his first name (Donald), as a power play.

13. Controlling one’s facial expressions

Assuming I watched the political debate on mute … who looks like they are winning? Certainly not Biden, he looks confused half the time.

However note Trump who licks his lips when laughing at Joe Biden.

14. “Listen, this is just the way it is”

Interesting move by Trump when he pauses and says:

“Listen, this is just the way it is” (says in a nonchalant way).

As a way to negate Biden’s biting criticism from before:

15. “47 years and you haven’t done anything”

More nervous laughter from Joe Biden. Perhaps to laugh is not a good defense (or attack) mechanism. Unless one bursts out in laughing, hysterically?

16. Looking down while talking seems submissive?

When one looks down while talking, it either looks like they are reading off a sheet of paper, or perhaps they seem dejected? To look downwards typically makes one look submissive. To have one’s chin up, or perhaps staring into the camera looks better.

I also kinda get the gist that Biden is just re-hearsing based off what he previously wrote (or his team) has written for him … rather than speaking his mind from his head.

17. We will vote for who is more entertaining?

While Biden is talking, Trump keeps saying ‘wrong’… ‘so wrong’ (which I find both hilarious), but subtly convincing.

18. Don’t stutter

Biden seems to stutter a lot while talking which doesn’t inspire confidence. Better to speak slowly, boldly, simply, and not to mess up the cadence of one’s speech.

19. Better to say “you”

During a debate, don’t talk into the camera, but to make eye contact with the other person, and refer to them as “YOU”.

“If you were in charge, *MILLIONS* would have died (not hundreds of thousands), and it is China’s fault.

Interesting thing … by Trump saying if Biden were in charge *MILLIONS* would have died than hundreds of thousands (this seems less bad), and also by Trump saying “It’s China’s fault” it absolves America of any responsibility (Americans like to hear this).

“You don’t know how many people died in China, you don’t know how many people died in Russia, you don’t know how many people died in India. They don’t give you straight numbers, just so you can understand.”

This is interesting, it stokes up some low-key anti-China and anti-Russia sentiment.

Also the second part: “They don’t give you straight numbers, just so you can understand” makes Biden seem incompetent of knowing how things “really” work.

“I closed it. You said he’s xenophobic, he’s racist […] people who were not necessarily on my side said that [I did a great job].”

Interesting tactic to say: “People not necessarily on my side said that [I did a great job]” because it then means:

People who are anti-me, are still supportive of me.

20. “The only thing I haven’t done a good job” (and that is because of the the fake news)

Trump doesn’t actually say what he hasn’t done a good job on… interesting.

And also by saying “the only thing I *HAVEN’T* done a good job in” (seems like a moment of humility) but actually he scapegoats the ‘fake news’. By saying what I haven’t done well in (seems like an opener to build more trust), but actually he doesn’t admit anything wrong.

21. “You don’t have it in your blood, you can never have done that job.”

To say you don’t have it in your blood… wow, what an insanely biting comment.

22. “How many of you woke up to an empty chair because you know someone who died of COVID?”

This seems like distasteful political rhetoric from Biden, and also seems very pre-rehearsed. I think the key is when he stares straight into the camera and starts talking, it seems scripted. The public doesn’t like what is scripted — we feel like the politician is just trying to game our emotions for their own personal benefit (of getting elected).

23. “People like this” [gestures towards opponent]

Trump’s strategy of calling Biden a “politician” (the public notion is that all politicians are bad). Smart strategy, because it suggests that Trump isn’t a politician, but just one of the ‘people *for* the people’.

“Because of the left… or I don’t know what to call him”.

Another interesting commentary, because Trump is suggesting Biden isn’t a leftist, which then makes the left party (who is watching) think:

Wait… is Biden not for the left?

Then by saying ‘I don’t know what to call him’, it makes Biden seem like a “moderate” (the worst category) which will prevent either Republicans (right) or Democrats (left) for voting for him.

24. Facial expressions

When comparing the two men above, who looks more confident and trust-worthy?

Trump (if you had no idea who this man was) looks more aggressive, forceful, and confident. Biden (empty forehead) seems older, less competent, and more frail.

It seems the public votes for a man (person) who they consider strong, capable, and more attractive. While I don’t think that Trump is handsome, he is certainly *more* attractive than Biden (facial feature wise) and physiologically.

25. When we talk about “you”, who are we talking about?

Also to blink a lot seems like a bad strategy … it makes you seem like you’re either lying or unconfident in yourself.

26. “Don’t ever use the word smart around me, because there is nothing smart about you.”

Trump as a master rhetorician… his dramatic pauses, facial expressions and eye rolls. Perhaps he learns this from doing business, from acting, or entertainment. But Trump’s cadence feels more real, more biting, and more offensive.

27. “The greatest economy of all time”

It seems for an American politician, to appeal to American patriotism (or American nationalism) by calling America’s economy the “greatest economy of all time” is good to build support from the public and masses.

28. “He wants to [shut] down this country, and I want to keep it [open].”

Trump is associating himself with the not on of “OPEN” while associating Biden with the notion of “SHUT”.

“Let me shut you down for one second Joe, just one second.”

This is a back-slap, because we all know that Trump is the one interrupting Joe all the time.

29. “No, I think masks are okay.”

“Look I got a mask here, I put it on when I think I need it.”

Masterful from Trump … to have pulled out a physical prop (the mask) from inside his shirt pocket.

One of the main criticisms against Trump is he is anti-mask. By Trump pulling a physical object out of his pocket shows that he does in fact always carry a mask, and isn’t anti-mask. Also a good play, because once again we gotta consider… most people watching this debate either at home, on the train, in the subway, at the airport or sports bar is probably watching it muted.

Once again huge lesson:

Use physical props, and assume everyone is watching the debate on MUTE.

30. “According to the ….. EXPERTS”

It also seems that the masses and the public have a disdain for experts. Thus to refer to them as the “experts”, it builds more populist support for you.

31. “Joe does the circles and just has three people in some places.”

To say the opponent only has three people show up (even if this is a lie) is an effective political strategy. We know what three people looks like (very sad turnout).

32. “We closed it down when the ‘China plague’ came”

Interesting that Trump calls it the ‘China plague’– means that to close down the economy were the responsible thing to do… especially if we were being attacked by a “plague” (from a foreign country).

“One person is too much … [then something about China]”

Once again, politically speaking.. to scape goat another country seems like an effective strategy (although it may not be the right thing to do moralistically).

“We are doing record business.”

Record (people like setting records).

“He will destroy this country”.

33. “It’s not fair”

To say “it is not fair” is a good tactic.. because the public hates “unfair” things, especially in political matters.

“He will destroy our country”.

Fear tactics work. People don’t want “our country” destroyed.

34. How to buy yourself more time

  • Your time is up sir
  • But well… I gotta respond to that …
  • You both had two minutes sir
  • Excuse me, he made a statement.
  • [So did you]
  • People want … their schools [no] people want their schools open.

So this is an interesting thing:

Trump ran out of time, but somehow he bought himself more time.

How did Trump do this? He talked slowly. Then started to talk again and not stop.

35. “I’ve paid millions of dollars in taxes. Millions of dollars … [in income tax] {pointing gesture}.”

“There was a story in one of the papers…”

If someone asks you a straight question, to deflect seems the best strategy.

Federal income taxes …

“Millions of dollars. Millions of dollars.”

“I don’t want to pay tax. I was a private developer. Like every other private person [unless they’re stupid] they go through the laws and that is what it is.”

–> An insanely ballsy statement by Trump, admitting openly that he doesn’t like taxes (nobody likes paying taxes), and also admitting “like every other private person, unless they’re stupid” (tries to lower their taxes through the legal system).

“Look the tax code that made him … [put him into a position that]

Biden wanted to say “made him a billionaire” but Biden chose *NOT* to say it, because the weird thing:

We both despise billionaires, but also see them as heroes.

If Biden openly called Trump (made him a billionaire), it would make Trump seen as incredibly capable and smart.

“I’ve done more in 47 months than you’ve done in 47 years

Good rhetoric skill:

Equate my superiority to you in a span of MONTHS, than your YEARS.

36. Effective to raise one’s voice when making a statement

When Trump is talking about Ohio and Michigan… he strategically raises his voice (he is saying the same thing, but by increasing his volume and the register of his voice, it seems more truthful?)

37. “Simply not true.”

Biden says that Trump’s accusation that Biden’s son takes out millions/billions of dollars. Biden responds by saying “simply not true” (by looking downwards and shaking his head). This seems like a lie from Biden, or a sign of defeat?

“Totally discredited”

A better response from Joe Biden would have been to look angry, and rather than looking down (as a silent admittance), it is better to stare Trump back directly in the eyes and yell louder?

[Shaking head…] “Its a fact.”

“Look, my son did nothing wrong.”

When Biden says “*MY* son”, “did nothing wrong” it seems like Biden is coming to his son’s defense … knowing that in fact, his son did do something wrong?

“He doesn’t want me to answer, because he knows that I have the truth” (a bad statement to say by Biden, because it is just trying to buy him some more time to come up with an answer).

Also to say “I have the truth” seems to be a bad political statement to say.

And Biden should have fought fire with fire … rather than pausing and looking down when he was being hounded by Trump, Biden should have kept talking (or perhaps lied better?)

38. “Mr president… please stop.”

Trump totally ignores what the commentator says, and continues and doesn’t even lose his eye contact.

“He got three and a half million dollars from Moscow.”

Trump strategy: to just make statements (proclaiming them as facts) than asking questions. Which then primes the viewer’s mind:

Wait … did Biden *really* get 3.5 million dollars from Moscow (Russia) who is “supposed” to be our pseudo-enemy?

“Look here’s the deal”… [bad phrase]

“My family all lost a fortune helping the government.” (Trump builds sympathy by saying his family has *LOST* a personal fortune, while insinuating that Biden’s family *GAINED* a personal fortune helping the government?) Which then means:

Biden and his family (and other politicians) only use office and politics as a means of personal family enrichment.

Why is Biden looking into the camera? Who is he looking at? Seems effective that Trump is staring directly at Biden. Why doesn’t Biden stare back at Trump?

39. “Less than you have.”

Commentator has some spine and backbone when he frankly admits that Trump did more interrupting than Biden. +1 for commentator.

40. “Oh yeah, sure.”

Trump straight up ignores the clock (2.00 minute mark on top). Perhaps this is an effective strategy? To listen to the rules and time constraints… not a good strategy?

41. Equality and equity?

New heuristic:

I never trust anyone when they talk about “equality” and “equity” — it is just a marketing scheme.


Someone who *really* believes in equality and equity wouldn’t say it publicly?

42. Good what to *NOT* mention.

Good that Biden didn’t mention Trump holding the Bible upside down (this would have been a petty remark that would have lowered one’s esteem for Biden).

43. Why does Biden refer to “black” people and “African American” people categorically in the same sentence?

A political ploy?

And interesting… when Biden keeps talking about pro-African American justice and how Trump hasn’t done anything for African Americans… Trump actually *DOESN’T* interrupt Biden. Why not? Because the more Biden speaks, it seems that his strategy of trying to appeal to the African American population is actually back-firing, and Trump is letting Biden dig his own grave?

“You called them ‘super-predators’”

Even if it is true or isn’t true … to associate the opponent with calling a group of people a “super predator” seems fucking insane.

Which makes me (ERIC KIM) wonder:

Did Biden really call [some] African American people as “super-predators?”

And while Trump is talking, why doesn’t Biden interrupt him and say it isn’t true or it is false? Another moment of silence seems like Biden is thinking to himself:

“Oh shit, I totally fucked up. I didn’t expect Trump to bring that up.”

Why is Biden’s eyes so big and staring at Trump like a deer in the headlights?

Biden looking down so much … seems like a very bizarre response?

“Why don’t you use the words ‘law enforcement’ Joe?”

“Radical left democrats”

Trump calling out Biden’s strategy of appealing to the “Radical Left Democrats” who are anti-law enforcement. This might be a truism. Biden doesn’t want to be seen as “pro” law enforcement, so chooses not to even mention or talk about the law enforcement?

“We got back Seattle”

The fact that Trump says “we” so often is a good strategy — because it means that “we” (all of us American people) are on the same team, working together.

“We believe in law and order, but you don’t”.

“You’re afraid to even say it.”

–> To suggest someone is afraid … good tactic.

44. “Decent”

By Biden calling most cops “decent” seems like bad phrasing, because then it makes us think:

Wait, is the default categorization of a cop “un-decent”?

45. Biden puts me to sleep?

I will vote for Biden (not Trump) and for the most part, I am anti-Trump. But … Trump is certainly 1000x more entertaining than Biden.

46. “He’s the racist”

I don’t think it was a good idea that Biden called Trump a racist to his face. Loses credibility?

“It makes a big difference”

This is a weak phrase that doesn’t really mean anything.

“Irish catholics like me who grew up in Scranton.” (good that Biden outted himself as an Irish Catholic, a group that has typically been marginalized in society). It means he knows first-handed what it feels to be oppressed as a non-dominant group.

“We were breaking every record in the book.”

47. Why make strong angry statements towards the moderator?

It seems Biden has no backbone. When he gets visibly upset, why doesn’t he direct his anger or his strong statements directly towards the eyes of Trump, instead of saying these high and mighty phrases to the moderator?

48. “Antifa is bad”

Interesting to make a solid and strong statement:

[x] is bad.

49. “The impeachment HOAX”

Interesting to call something a ‘hoax’ (if you call it a hoax, it suggests that it truly is fake, like hocus pocus).

“Hillary Clinton … ‘con job’”

The average American understands what a ‘con job’ is, and hates it.

“We take care of our vets”.

America is a military and militarized country. It does seem wise (politically and socially) to take care of military veterans.

“They have a little different philosophy”.

50. Hunter [Biden] was thrown out of the military for cocaine use?

Good that Biden admitted his son had a ‘drug problem’ and ‘fixed it’ (like many other Americans). Many Americans have drug problems, so it is good Biden didn’t throw his son (Hunter Biden) under the bus.

“He hasn’t been given tens of millions of dollars!”

Wait, shouldn’t Joe Biden had said:

“Hunter Biden wasn’t given a single cent from any of those governments!”

Trump is a total dick, doesn’t allow Biden to say his speech uninterrupted.

“I’d like to talk about climate change.”

And wow, Trump wins here. He totally derails Biden’s 2-minute speech, and the conversation is transitioned into talking about climate change!!!

51. “To an extent … yes”

This seems like a response, but actually isn’t.

52. “Well not really”

“People would be able to afford a car” (anti clean laws, reduce average car price by $3,500, which puts more new cars on the road and gets old cars out of the roads, which leads to less pollution?) It actually seems like it kind of makes sense.

“I’m okay with electric cars too! I’ve given big incentives for electric cars.”

53. Outfits?

Biden should have perhaps wore a bright blue tie, and perhaps a democratic-blue colored pocket square? His outfit doesn’t look like a Democratic Party outfit, he just looks like kind of a random business person? Trump’s tie isn’t really any better, but at least having a little pop of red in Trump’s tie makes him look more “American” (American flag has red in it). Even though Democrats are blue, perhaps Democrats should integrate *some* form of red into their outfit, like a small accent somewhere?

Trump has a predominantly blue tie with red stripes, and no pocket square. Biden has a white (triple) pocket square, and thin white-black stripe tie

I personally voted for Bernie in the past (having a more radical left-candidate for president against Trump might have been more interesting and entertaining, at least in a debate).

Also interesting note:

It seems that Trump’s suit jacket isn’t buttoned on the bottom, which shows more of his chest… which makes him seem less “put together”, but more relate-able, like a more common person?

Even the moderator has the weird pocket square (why does anyone have these pretentious accents on their garments?)

Also another note:

Trump has the shirt with the buttons on the sleeves which look more “fancy”, whereas Biden doesn’t?


When you make hand gestures with a white shirt with a button on the sleeve, it looks more impressive as you’re talking or orating with your hands?

Also, why does the moderator’s shirt so loose fitting around his wrists?

54. “You made it up”

“You make up a lot of stuff”

“We make up 15% of the world’s problems” (Biden)

Seems like a shot in the foot, Americans don’t like to admit they are the cause of the world’s problems (although we kind of know this is true, but we don’t like to admit this to ourselves openly).

55. Strategic finger-pointing?

Pointing your finger at the opponent like a dagger, and sticking your finger in the air as you talk, as if you are the voice of authority.

“You’re on tape” (by saying someone is on tape, we then google it (looking for the tape). We will google “Joe Biden stupid bastards tape”.

56. Switching up your hand gestures and hands

Good oratory skill: switch up your hand usage (between your left and right) and also the *types* of hand gestures you do.

“It’s a fraud, and its a shame”

“This is not going to end well”

“Chris, he’s so wrong when he says that”

“It’s a disgrace”

It seems having certain ‘catch phrases’ and constantly repeating them is effective