Allahpundit covered the big Trump Walk Out last night, but judging by my social media feeds, the conversation continued well into the morning. When I flipped on my television while making coffee this morning it was pretty much the only topic being covered on cable news. Gee… I wonder if that was by design? In any event, following the brouhaha that AP described during the war of words between the real estate mogul and Roger Ailes, the Trump campaign came out with the official decision. At least for the moment, the Thursday night debate will have to go on without its frontrunner.
Unlike the very stupid, highly incompetent people running our country into the ground, Mr. Trump knows when to walk away. Roger Ailes and FOX News think they can toy with him, but Mr. Trump doesn’t play games. There have already been six debates, and according to all online debate polls including Drudge, Slate, Time Magazine, and many others, Mr. Trump has won all of them, in particular the last one. Whereas he has always been a job creator and not a debater, he nevertheless truly enjoys the debating process – and it has been very good for him, both in polls and popularity.
He will not be participating in the FOX News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians.
Allahpundit described this circus as one more reason not to support Trump because it might be emblematic of the “drama” which would surround a Trump presidency. To each their own, I suppose, but when Ed and I were going back and forth on this last night I came away with a somewhat different view. The first question to answer is whether or not The Donald will go through with the new plan. Fox will no doubt leave the door open for him to show up if he decides to. (How could they not? You don’t kick the headline band out of the concert and run the opening act alone unless you have to.) But at this point I would put the odds of him changing his mind at very, very low. From the Trump side of the equation, he’s drawn a line in the sand and it centers on Megyn Kelly. If she’s still there and he shows up, that’s basically a case of running up the white flag which is simply not Trump’s style. From the perspective of the Fox camp, they’ve already backed down to too many of Trump’s previous demands and come off looking the worse for it. Kelly is one of their flagship air personalities and I can’t imagine them throwing her under the bus at this point.
So if he doesn’t show, how does this work out for Trump? As I read the cards, he’s got one job in front of him right now: beat Ted Cruz in Iowa and then move on to win as many more states as possible. As things stand, the debate was going to be yet another situation where he would have to stand up on center stage while the rest of the candidates took shots at him. Without him taking part the debate will be the rest of them taking shots at an empty podium. It will be all about Trump either way. Meanwhile, the debate would have pulled in 22 million viewers or more if he showed up. Now there will be an event featuring Trump and only Trump taking place at the same time. Fox won’t cover it, but you know that the other networks will be cutting away to the Trump rally. They just can’t help themselves. He’ll get the coverage he wants with crowds of screaming fans cheering him on rather than a pack of opponents criticizing him.
I’ll ask the same question again now… how does this work out for Trump? Well, I’m here talking about it this morning. Every other political site I’ve looked at is covering it. CNN, MSNBC and, yes… Fox News are talking about it. With less than a week to go Trump has once again sucked every last molecule of oxygen out of the room. The only coverage the rest of the candidates are getting is to ask them what they think about Trump refusing to show up. Can anyone explain how this is a losing proposition for Trump?
I said it last night and I’ll say it again. The conventional wisdom is that the candidates have to debate. Unfortunately for the rest of them, Trump has once again torn up the rule book and moved the game to his own turf. People will call him a chicken and all manner of other names, predicting all sorts of doom and gloom. Meanwhile, the number of Trump supporters who abandon ship over this decision will probably be exactly the same as the last twenty scandals and outrages we’ve covered: zilch. If anything, Trump’s numbers will tick up in the early states if history is any guide because let’s face it… it’s hard to beat somebody at a game of chess when they keep flipping the board over on you.