Update II: Trump: I didn’t like Fox News’s wiseguy press releases so “most likely” I won’t be doing the debate; Update: Campaign manager says he’s out
Hey, do we take credit for this brilliant move?? Biased NRO can’t moderate a debate. Why should unfair and unbalanced Megyn Kelly be allowed to attack Trump at debate?
Update: Trump polls social media: Should I do this Fox News debate or skip it because Megyn Kelly’s biased? The man is smart. As we write below, it is a win/win/win for Trump. Trump has played this so intelligently, once again. You can vote on Trump’s Twitter feed HERE.
Trump’s campaign manager: If Fox won’t remove Megyn Kelly as moderator, maybe we’ll hold our own townhall on Thursday night. We had a better idea last August for a Trump trump against Fox News:
Trump should then say he will hold his own event opposite the Fox News debate. Trump should get a network broadcaster such as ABC News to televise his debate: A debate featuring Donald Trump versus Bernie Sanders (or Hillary, but she won’t accept the invite whereas Saint Bernard will because it will help him).
Result – tens of millions of viewers for ABC, Bernie Sanders Kooks happy, Bernie Sanders happy, strong Hillary Clinton fuming, both party establishments trumped, next to zero ratings for Fox News.
We wrote that before the changes to the debate schedule but the concept is the same. At the very least the threat will force Fox News to reconsider their unfair and unbalanced Megyn Kelly attacks against Trump:
With just five days until Fox News airs the final GOP debate before the Iowa Caucuses, Donald Trump is reigniting his war with Megyn Kelly. “Based on @MegynKelly’s conflict of interest and bias she should not be allowed to be a moderator of the next debate,” Trump tweeted while campaigning in Iowa on Saturday. [snip]
In a lengthy Vanity Fair profile this month, Kelly boasted of writing the now-famous debate question about Trump’s history of misogynistic comments, which ignited the feud this summer. And last week, Kelly sarcastically brought up Sarah Palin’s Trump endorsement, as well as hosted National Review editor Rich Lowry to promote the National Review’s anti-Trump issue.
Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, indicated that Trump could walk away from the debate if Fox won’t exclude Kelly. “Let’s see what happens,” he told me. “It’s fair to say Mr. Trump is a significant ratings driver for these debates. If we aren’t on stage for some reason, they wouldn’t have the record 24 million viewers and would be back with 1-2 million people.”
In the past, the Republican National Committee has banned media it deems unfair. It canceled a debate on NBC, and excluded the Manchester Union Leader and National Review after both outlets attacked Trump. But in this case, the RNC won’t be getting involved. [snip]
Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, told me Trump could stage his own televised town hall on Thursday night and let Fox’s rivals air it. “That would be a great idea,” he said.
Donald J. Trump has once again demonstrated The Art of the Deal. Trump has placed himself in a win/win/win position.
First Trump win: if Trump attends the Fox News debate the added drama of Kelly v Trump heightens viewership and ratings proving Trump’s center stage power.
Second Trump win: if Trump attends the Fox News debate he can attack Megyn Kelly at will because Trump has prepped the battlefield and informed the viewers that Megyn Kelly is unfair and unbalanced.
Third Trump win: Trump is well ahead in Iowa so he comes from a position of strength if he decides to stage an event opposite the Fox News debate.
Whatever Trump does in this instance, he wins. If Trump would follow our advice and stage a debate on a broadcast station such as CBS, ABC, or even the loathsome NBC, Trump would get the eyeballs and Fox News would lose.
A Trump versus Sanders debate would help Trump, hurt all the other Republicans, hurt Fox News, hurt Hillary Clinton, and help Bernie Sanders. Result: Trump would hurt his strongest potential opponent, help his weakest opponent, and break the neck of Fox News and Big Media generally.
For Bernie Sanders a massive debate against Trump on January 28 potentially could be enough to secure an Iowa win. Bernie Sanders could pivot to a general election strategy, which is what he is up to these days anyway:
Sanders opens his rallies by ticking through the latest polls — an uncharacteristic touch of bravado intended to convince Democrats that he is not only viable in a general election but a stronger standard-bearer against the Republicans than Clinton. [snip]
In another sign of growing confidence, Sanders has stepped up his talk of the general election. “I would very much look forward to a race against Donald Trump,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” In speeches at his rallies, he sprinkles in previews of “a Sanders administration.”
Over the course of The Post interview, Sanders said Clinton was running a “desperate” campaign incapable of generating the kind of excitement his has. He raised questions about her motives and character. He said he expects Clinton and her campaign to “throw the kitchen sink” at him in the coming week in what he described as a craven attempt to avoid an embarrassing loss in Iowa. [snip]
Sanders has taken to starting his rallies by touting polls that show him with larger leads against Trump and other leading Republicans than Clinton. He is trying to argue that he is more likely than Clinton to replicate the kind of general election enthusiasm that propelled Barack Obama to the White House in 2008.
Clinton says that she — not Sanders — is the Democrat whom Republicans fear the most.
The DNC might try to punish Sanders or threaten him, but they would not dare to carry out the threat. Ditto the RNC regarding Trump. Authorized or unauthorized a Trump v. Sanders debate would leave the GOP debate on Fox News in the dustbin along with the cat hairballs. All eyes would be fixed on Trump v. Sanders. All the excitement would be on Trump v. Sanders. And the face-off in Iowa streets as the Trump armies v the Sanders squads clash… well, epic.
At this very late date, Hillary Clinton has finally realized what Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders figured out a while back: Hillary must win Iowa:
The last thing Clinton can afford now is for Sanders to get a head of steam from Iowa and New Hampshire. A pair of victories by the Vermont senator could produce a protracted and, for Clinton, debilitating nomination battle. Even if Clinton were to survive and capture the nomination, she would start the general election as a weakened candidate and with her resources significantly depleted.
That’s why a Clinton victory in the Iowa caucuses is so crucial.
Bernie Sanders could win Iowa with a Trump bump. That’s his incentive.
For Hillary, who has ignored every bit of advice we provided these past years, a Trump v. Sanders debate would be a catastrophe. Why? Because it would expose her entire strategy to be the muddled mess we warned about years ago.
Recall our warning in 2013’s The Hillary Clinton 2016 Muddled Message Mess:
The central question for any campaign is whether the electorate must “stay the course!” or whether it is “time for a change!”. It’s one or the other. There is no other question. A merge, a double message won’t sell. A “let’s stay the course but change” concoction has as much appeal and logic as vegetarian pork chops. Hillary Clinton 2016 thus far mumbles non sequiturs hoping no one will notice the screeching echoes of the 2008 muddled message mess (which we tried to correct) when the campaign careened from message to message while the Obama campaign stuck to it’s simple and clear lie.
Axelrod warns: Take Trump more seriously
For David Axelrod, Donald Trump’s rise among Republican voters could best be explained with the rise of another nearly a decade ago: Barack Obama.
In a New York Times op-ed published Monday, the former Obama adviser wrote of his advice for the then-prospective presidential candidate in 2006, in which he laid out the Illinois senator’s case for a White House run.
“Here’s the gist. Open-seat presidential elections are shaped by perceptions of the style and personality of the outgoing incumbent. Voters rarely seek the replica of what they have,” Axelrod wrote. “They almost always seek the remedy, the candidate who has the personal qualities the public finds lacking in the departing executive.”
In other words, Axelrod added, if he had “only reread my own words, written nine years ago to another aspiring candidate, I would have taken the Trump candidacy more seriously from the start.”
Just as a “young” and “energetic” John F. Kennedy succeeded a “grandfatherly” and “somnolent” Dwight D. Eisenhower, so did “puritanical” Jimmy Carter follow the Watergate-sullied administration of Gerald Ford, Axelrod argued.
“So who among the Republicans is more the antithesis of Mr. Obama than the trash-talking, authoritarian, give-no-quarter Mr. Trump?” he asked, noting later, “Relentlessly edgy, confrontational and contemptuous of the niceties of governance and policy making, Mr. Trump is the perfect counterpoint to a president whose preternatural cool and deliberate nature drive his critics mad.” [snip]
“But as the most ardent and conspicuous counterpoint to the man in the White House today, the irrepressible Mr. Trump already has defied all expectations.”
In other words “It’s time for a change.” In 2008 Americans rejected George W. Bush and it was time for a change. That’s why the “Hope and CHANGE” crap was churned out by Obama’s campaign manipulators.
In 2016 it’s time for a CHANGE, a big motherfu*king CHANGE, and Hillary decides she wants to run as the Obama third term. Can you spell “loser”?
Donald Trump took our advice. Trump is THE CHANGE candidate. Hillary put herself in the loser position of “stay the course”.
This is a change election. The unexpected is what is to be expected. In one smart stroke Donald Trump can elevate his poll numbers to even greater heights, schlong Fox News, bury his GOP opponents, utilize Bernie Sanders to finish off Hillary Clinton, and provide the spectacle and entertainment American politics has become. Trump can do all that with a boycott of the Fox News debate and a staged debate of his own.
Or, Trump could just go to the Fox News debate and win again. Trump put himself in a win/win position. That’s what winners do.