Donald Trump, a man who barely listens to his own professional advisers and hates following scripts, is now asking random Internet strangers to help him prepare for his rematch debate with Hillary Clinton.
In a Wednesday afternoon letter to supporters, Trump requests “honest input” that might help him in Sunday’s town-hall style event.
Although the “debate preparation survey” is a low-dollar email fundraising ask, the questions do actually seem designed to take stock of what ardent supporters—at least the ones who care enough to actually fill out the questionnaire—will respond to best.
The survey asks supporters what they think Trump’s strongest suit is and where he needs to improve. It also asks supporters whether they think he should “call out Hillary for lying about her stance” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and whether his supporters agreed that she damaged the country’s national security.
There’s a box at the end for any “personal advice” they’d like to offer the candidate. Honesty is encouraged (but, of course, may be immediately dismissed).
It’s likely that Trump’s advisors will use the information collected to craft post-debate spin to Trump’s base, but it’s hard to miss the dramatic about-face on the part of Trump’s team—or the implied admission that Trump suffered in the first debate from his own lack of preparation.
Before that debate, Trump, now famously, skipped out on mock forums, and ignored his top advisers’ advice to do his homework. This time, not only is he listening to people like Chris Christie and Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, and making himself a practice schedule, he’s asking hundreds of anonymous members of a fundraising list to dole out sage wisdom on how to take on Hillary.