Every candidate has go-to talking points.
We decided to list a few of them ahead of Thursday's debate, creating a helpful key for debate viewers — and the candidates — of Trump's fallback arguments. What we haven't done, you'll notice, is try to come up with witty and politically opportunistic responses the candidates should use to counter Trump's Trumpisms.
If we were that good, we would be well-paid debate strategists and not lowly journalists.
To Donald Trump, there are two kinds of people in the world: good negotiators and bad negotiators. Basically everyone except Donald Trump and his "guys" fall into the latter category.
Examples include: "We have to negotiate great trade deals. I would get the best guys."
Politicians are "really non-negotiators, people who don't negotiate jobs and lots of other things."
"Our president doesn't have a clue; he's a bad negotiator."
"I can send two executives into a room. They can say the same things; one guy comes home with the bacon, and the other guy doesn't."
2. The best border wall
This is the answer to America's illegal immigration problems, our unemployment rate and our annual deficit. You've heard this before: He'll build a wall between the U.S.-Mexico border to keep undocumented immigrants out — and make Mexico pay for it (somehow). Jobs, cash and a safer border. Done, done and done.
Examples include: "I would build a wall like nobody can build a wall."
"I will build the wall, and Mexico's going to pay for it, and they will be happy to pay for it. Because Mexico is making so much money from the United States that that's going to be peanuts."
3. China, China, China
The country is frequently used by Trump to showcase his business acumen, political expertise and to illustrate how President Obama has none of that. As such, he vacillates between saying China is bad for us and crediting China for having the wherewithal to pull the wool over our collective eyes. Expect this line of attack to be used on Trump's fellow Republican candidates Thursday.
Examples include: "I beat China all the time."
"I like China. I sell apartments for — I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China."
If Trump were elected, "Oh would China be in trouble. The poor Chinese."
4. It's not just China
Referring to another country as "beating" or "killing" America is one of Trump's surefire ways to illustrate that America is falling apart without his leadership. There's even a formula: "When did we beat [insert country here] at anything?" or "[Insert country here] is killing us."
Examples include: "I have great respect for Mexico — their leaders are too smart — they’re killing us at the border and they’re killing us with trade. You know, Mexico in a certain way, is the new China."
"When did we beat Japan at anything?"
Classic Trump. How can you argue with "-est"?
Examples include: "I'll be the best jobs president God's created."
"Obama is, without question, the worst ever president. I predict he will now do something really bad and totally stupid to show manhood."
"Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault."
"Sadly, the American dream is dead. But if I get elected president, I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before, and we will make America great again."
Hillary Clinton is the "worst secretary of state in the history of our country."
We're sure we'll hear some new ones Thursday night.
6. 'Believe me'
This is the ultimate, infallible Trumpism, in part because it's the most inarguable. Believe who? 'Believe me, Donald Trump on, well, everything.' And polls show that at least this early in the campaign, more and more voters seem willing to do just that.
Examples include: "I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me."
"I build great buildings all over the world. I would have Mexico pay for it. Believe me, they will pay for it."
"People say, 'Mr. Trump, you’re not a nice person.' But actually I am."
"I'm really rich. I'll show you that in a second."
"I can never apologize for the truth."