Presidential Campaign

You’re hired: Cuban best Trump stand-in for Clinton debate prep

With the first Presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York less than a month away, the Clinton campaign still hasn’t settled on who will play Donald Trump during their preparation sessions in the lead up to the big night.

Trump is perilously behind in most national and battleground state polls, which significantly increases the importance of his first debate performance. A Super Bowl-like atmosphere is predicted for the inaugural debate, as the television audience size could approach 100 million viewers. This could be Trump’s last opportunity to fundamentally alter the trajectory of the race and his current polling deficit could make him especially desperate and unpredictable.  

{mosads}The Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, was recently hired as the Trump campaign’s chief executive and both the New York Times and CNN reported that former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes will be assisting Trump with debate preparations. Clinton could be confronted about the death of Vincent Foster and the painful memories associated with women such as Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and Juanita Broaddrick.

Trump will likely continue to question Clinton’s mental and physical stamina, in addition to discussing issues like the Clinton Foundation, private email server, and paid corporate speeches. Given the high stakes and importance of practice, Clinton’s campaign would be wise to ask Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to play the role of Trump in her debate preparation sessions.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told CNN’s State of the Union last Sunday that the campaign hasn’t settled on the right person yet to portray Trump in the practice debates and it will be incredibly difficult to find someone that can perfectly mimic both his temperament and instincts.

During the Republican primary debates he frequently insulted his opponents and criticized the moderators. A completely different and reverential Trump emerged in the final Miami debate, so Clinton’s team has to prepare for all potential contingencies. It wouldn’t be shocking if several different people stood in for Trump at various times.

The lengthy list of possible Trump impersonators that have been discussed publicly includes: Minnesota Senator Al Franken, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, New York Representative Joe Crowley, media personality James Carville, and former Vice-Presidential Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

There was even a report recently on WNYC radio that attorney Alan Dershowitz had been selected to play the part of Trump. He told Politico that he would love to participate, but hadn’t yet been asked. While there are certainly several worthy candidates, Cuban would be the smartest selection for a multitude of reasons.

There are a countless number of similarities between Trump and Cuban. They are both self-made billionaires that say whatever is on their minds and have a penchant for controversy. Cuban has accumulated nearly 2 million dollars of fines levied by the National Basketball Association and does not shy away from the headlines. Both have been successful reality television stars on shows that garner impressive ratings.

With some exceptions, Trump and Cuban are generally considered fiscally conservative and socially liberal. They are roughly the same height and have even taken part in high-profile World Wrestling Entertainment events. There is no love lost between these two larger-than-life personalities and Cuban would do anything he could to improve the odds of a Clinton presidency.

He officially endorsed Clinton during a Pittsburgh campaign event in late July, while simultaneously insulting Trump. Cuban and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta reportedly have a good relationship and have talked numerous times throughout this year’s race. Cuban told Politico on August 16 that he would be happy to portray Trump in debate prep, but no one had yet asked.

The Clinton campaign would be shrewd to make that phone call. As witnessed during the first round of Obama v. Romney in 2012, presidential debates have the potential to radically alter the state of the race and Trump’s volatile candidacy makes this an even greater possibility in the fall.

Aaron Kall is the Director of Debate at the University of Michigan and co-author of the forthcoming book “Debating The Donald.”

The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags 2016 Presidential debates 2016 presidential election Al Franken billionaires Debate prep Democratic Party Donald Trump Republican Party United States

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