Trump wins again

Damn this man is a master of media exploitation.  I guarantee you his decision to skip the latest debate is getting him way more press coverage than if had ever just participated in the latest of a series of debates of increasingly marginal value.  Drum gets it right:

Donald Trump has figured out yet again how to dominate the news cycle: he’s announced that he won’t participate in Thursday’s debate on Fox because host Megyn Kelly isn’t fair to him. It’s childish, but it’s probably a smart move. The debate likely wouldn’t help him much, but with everyone gunning for him there’s at least a chance it could hurt him. And since Trump’s appeal is mostly rooted in grievance culture, picking a fight like this probably goes over well with his base. Besides, as you can see, his announcement got him a ton of press.

As does Amy Davidson:

It could be that his exit from the debate stage was, from his perspective, perfectly timed—a second before he and the audience got bored. In the first debate, Trump’s presence on the stage with “real” politicians elevated him, but at this point the setting would diminish anyone. The debates are no longer what Trump might call a classy venue.  Fox’s announcement of the lineup, shortly before Trump stormed off, likely didn’t help. Rand Paul, who had been excluded last time because of low poll numbers, made it back onto the main stage, for a total of eight participants. In a well-run reality show, the field is quickly winnowed down. This one is getting bigger. And so Trump went off to look for a more exclusive club, at his own rallies in Iowa and, soon, everywhere.

Sure, some of the media coverage for skipping is negative, but since when has negative media coverage ever hurt Trump’s campaign? :-).

Marc Thiessen says this hurts Trump, but Thiessen is an idiot (and a foremost torture apologist) and claims that it makes Trump look weak and is insulting to Iowa voters.  Please, Trump’s supporter love his absurdly macho rhetoric and skipping a debate won’t change that.  And it’s hard to imagine insulting voters more than telling them you know they’d still support you even if you shot someone.

Anyway, more evidence that although he may be a dangerous blowhard, Trump is a master at playing the media in this campaign.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Trump wins again

  1. R, Jenrette says:

    I think he wins in another way too. He has a believable (to his followers) excuse if he should lose to Cruz. He can say that missing the debate hurt him with some voters, and he knew it would, but he had to do it as a matter of honor after Fox sent him those insultingly snarky emails.

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