Via Conservative Review, here’s one more reason to dread a Trump presidency. The sheer amount of petty drama would be exhausting after two weeks. Fox News alone would probably be barred from and then readmitted to White House press conferences half a dozen times in the first year depending upon how flattering their coverage was of His Yugeness at any given moment.
The fact that he won’t absolutely commit to skipping the debate even in the clip below, when he’s pretending to throw down the gauntlet over how mean the Fox News staffer who wrote today’s press release was, tells you there’s still a 95 percent chance that he’ll be there on Thursday. The media is oohing and aahing over Trump’s showmanship on Twitter as I write this but the truth is it’s a tactical error twice over, first because he can’t afford to let Cruz attack his record unrebutted on a big stage four days before Iowa goes to vote and second because it’s now in Roger Ailes’s power to exclude Trump from the debate if he wants to. All Ailes needs to do to kick him out is issue a statement explaining that debate logistics are complicated, that Fox has been blindsided by Trump’s boycott and is scrambling right now to re-plan the event without him, and that there simply won’t be enough time to overhaul everything again tomorrow if Trump changes his mind. They’ll have to go forward without him. Maybe Ailes won’t go that route; maybe he’ll call Trump up tonight, tell him to stop acting like a whiny baby, and then Trump will go out there tomorrow morning and claim that Ailes begged, begged him to attend until he couldn’t say no. At least, Trump better hope that’s what happens. Otherwise you’re going to hear about 18 variations on Thursday night of the question, “How can you stand up to China if you can’t stand up to Megyn Kelly?”
Unrelatedly, since I couldn’t find room for it elsewhere, here’s what tangling with Trump this month has done for Ted Cruz’s net favorable rating among Republicans:
He took off in late October after one of the debates and cruised along near +50 until the start of this month, when Trump started calling him a Canadian and grousing that he’s been mean to poor Senate Republicans like Mitch McConnell. Now Cruz’s rating is almost as bad as — well, almost as bad as Donald Trump’s. And interestingly, even though Cruz has been whaling on Trump for “New York values” and partial-birth abortion and fake conservatism and so forth, Trump’s numbers haven’t really budged from where they’ve been. Maybe that’s just (further) evidence that opinions pro and con about Trump are absolutely fixed at this point whereas opinions about Cruz, who’s much lesser known, are still soft. Or maybe what we’re seeing here is mostly an artifact of Trump’s fans turning their backs on Cruz: All throughout the fall, during his “bromance” with Cruz, they gave him thumbs up. The moment Trump went after him, they switched to thumbs down. That’s good for a 16-point drop in favorables in the span of two weeks. No wonder he’s slipped in Iowa.
Update: Ailes must have dialed him up and told him to get bent.
Lewandowski said there is nothing Fox News can do to convince Trump to participate in the debate.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) January 27, 2016