Why Trump’s Debate Move Is Brilliant
Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has driven the political conversation since he announced his candidacy. After Trump called for Megyn Kelly's removal as one of three Fox News debate moderators, the 24-hour cable news network released a statement that was both unprofessional and unexpected from a 'professional' organization.
Initially, Trump indicated that he was considering not attending the final debate before the primaries begin in Iowa on Monday. Several hours later, his campaign released an official statement indicating the businessman would forego the debate all together and host his own (during the same time) benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
The talking head pundits went predictably crazy wondering if Trump's latest move was finally the last nail in his political coffin. They couldn't be more wrong.
Trump's absence looms larger over the debate than his presence. The probability of him following through with his promise to boycott will keep his name front and center as the press speculates about his follow through leading up to the event.
During the debate, Fox News will want their pound of flesh for the negative impact that Trump will have on the ratings (which affects King Revenue) and give the candidates free reign to attack him. Late Friday morning, the overnight ratings will be released and we all learn if Trump's risk paid off.
If viewership is down, which should be expected at this point due to voter weariness, Trump then uses the lower numbers as indication that this election cycle is all about him as talking points to carry him into the Iowa primary. He has also effectively denied Ted Cruz the opportunity to get a soundbite from the debate that could be aired repeatedly and used to put a dent in Trump's armor.
Trump has not only sucked up all of the much-needed oxygen from the debate room, but he's shown his brilliance at the one thing his supporters say he isn't, being a politician.