As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Trump’s Starring Role as a No-Show

Do you know what Marco Rubio did Tuesday? Probably not. How about Ted Cruz? Probably not him either. Almost certainly, you have no idea what the rest of the candidates did.

Except one.

You may very well be aware that Donald Trump spent Monday and Tuesday grumbling and tweeting about the bias he thinks GOP debate moderator Megyn Kelly harbors against him, and that he just might not participate in the Thursday’s Fox News debate because of it. Then, you probably know, Tuesday night he decided that, indeed, he won’t be debating, but will instead raise money for veterans.

Once again, Trump was stealing the show, this time by NOT being in it.

No doubt on Wednesday, all anyone will be talking about is how Trump is skipping the debate, what this means for him and the others, and whether anyone can convince him to change his mind. The other candidates will issue criticisms that will be mentioned on the news and then vanish into the ethers as Trump continues his high decibel colloquy with Fox News, the media, and the country.

Thursday, debate day, will be more of the same, until the debate itself, when the elephant in the room will be the absence of Donald Trump. All the candidates will talk about him, the moderators will ask about him, and everyone watching will be checking his Twitter feed. And then Friday, the debate analysis will feature urgent discussions about how things went for Trump by NOT participating in the debate.

That is, five of the eight days leading up to Monday’s Iowa caucuses will be about Trump, Trump and Trump. What’s more, skipping the debate emphasizes everything voters love about Trump: He’s the burning iconoclast who will stand up to the Establishment and anyone else in order to do exactly what he thinks needs to be done. It’s what his backers think this imperiled nation needs.

This week will be little different than last, when he grabbed headlines by leaking out that he would have a “secret” guest at a campaign event and then unveiled none other than American politics’ other great attention-grabber, Sarah Palin. They appeared together again the next day, guaranteeing two days of Trump, Trump, Trump.

Meantime, Trump threw in some daily ad hominem attacks against chief rival Sen. Ted Cruz — he’s “nasty” and “looks like a jerk” — to make sure Cruz’s press is viewed through the filter of Trump.

The GOP frontrunner’s seemingly effortless ability to dominate every news cycle is not just the result of random bluster. Trump’s business is based on his talent for self-branding, making his face and personality the drawing card for his real estate. His skill at getting attention has been honed over the years, and it is now being used like a sledgehammer to smash the presidential dreams of his GOP rivals, who no doubt thought his entrance into the campaign last spring was a joke.

And beyond the publicity splash, not debating makes raw strategic sense. He is leading in the polls. It’s nearly the end of the trail. Everyone in the debate was going to be throwing desperate Hail Mary’s right as his nose. Who needs it? He’s been voted the winner in these debates constantly, so now he can only lose. He has the momentum in Iowa and is ahead everywhere else. The seemingly capricious Trump is just methodically following one of politics’ oldest rules: Frontrunners don’t debate.

Front-runner projects a kind of strength his opponents can’t quite match
But the irony of this is that if Trump wins the Republican nomination, it won’t be because of superficial tactics like garnering publicity. It will be because, dynamic to the core, he beats his opponents to the punch every single time. When they all go north, he heads south. While they were putting their alarm clocks on snooze, he was dressed and headed out the door. He has out-hustled and out-innovated all of them.

Nobody makes billions of dollars by shooting from the hip. They take aim at flamboyant and unexpected targets, and sometimes they miss. But when they hit, it’s remarkable. They seem crazy to everyone else, but they are merely plowing ground only they thought to sow in the first place.

That’s not to say it’s all a big, master plan. Trump is spontaneous and vindictive, to be sure. But he also knows what he’s doing. Problem for his opponents is, they can never guess what it will be.

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93 Responses to Trump’s Starring Role as a No-Show

  1. Fox has been whining all evening. Never once mentioning the fund raiser for Wounded Warriors that Trump is hosting instead of going to their debate. Both parties are acting like children, but front runners don’t need to debate. Heard CNN will broadcast his fundraiser. What an interesting turn of events!

    • Re. CNN That might work out well for Trump and the WW, but perhaps not so well for CNN or the Dems. There are fence sitters. And they watch CNN.

      • WWP is not supported by most veterans, myself included.
        Trump should have done a little homework before he picked them.
        WWP spends money like crazy on salaries (the CEO makes six figures)and in house events. Check them out on any of the non profit rating websites.

  2. MrTrump:
    Never before, one of a kind, break all the rules, say what you think, go where you want, and we’re lovin’ it.
    Why should he go where the RNC and FOX want him to be? He said he was beholden to no one, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to the establishment.
    ot: SenSanders will be meeting with MrObama tomorrow, hmmmm. Another twist?

  3. Trump is turning this election season into a dancing landscape, unpredictable and full of intrigue. This is ticking off the political consultants, the R politicos who thought it was all in the bag for Bush and/or Rubio. There’s a lot of money and power at stake for these backroom, “no one will suspect”, and hypocritical liars, and they ain’t going down easy.

      • This is a GREAT political season, and there’s more to come! Empires falling, toupees being ripped off, political “experts” gasping for air, hysterical charges flying in all directions, revolution in the air. Game of Thrones come to real life. What’s not to like? ;+}

  4. We are witnessing the revolution of campaigning. Just like the Seinfeld show was revolutionary in its writing, approach and perfect characters cast to act out the script.

    Never before has someone, celebrity or not, attempted to challenge the status quo, reporters, media and media corporations. How dare he. Is he arrogant. Yes ! Is he sharp? Yes! As a president should be. But he has more. Much more.

    I have been posting on what we are witnessing. Partly due to his celebrity, partly due to his message and yes it is getting old and needs new content…. But what we are witnessing is genius, madness, spontaneity, media savvy, leveraging and most importantly access to media channels. He will interview anytime, any where… Even George Stepanopolous (sp). Yeah he takes it easy on trump. Trump eats him up. He eats up wolf blitzer, he eats up whoever he speaks with. He controls the conversations, not them. That is presidential, not political. That is strength, not weakness. That is how it will be done by candidates going forward.

    Next, he manages rush, drudge, beck (whack job), MSM AND the fast becoming MSM FOX news. If they can’t manipulate you, they will slam you. Trump took away their power. All of it. No trump. Less ratings. Less $$$. What always wins, and trump knows this is $$$$. I predict trump not showing and the getting a cut for next debate or he will not show. Honestly, ask if he will need it or not. Look at polling. I don’t think he will win Iowa. But he will every poll after and state after that.

    Lastly, what we are witnessing, I hope is the breakup of the Republican Party. Inamnindependant. I stand for equal rights, pro life, strong safety and fiscal responsibility and social programs. I am repulsed by the religious aspect. That is just me. I am religious but governing should not be about religion. It should be about we the people.

    I believe trump, for his strengths, weaknesses and flaws, that I see, is the leader, regardless to make changes this country needs. I am flexible as to what the results should look like except; get our fiscal, military and social programs in order. Hold everyone, including Barack and his entire cabinet responsible for all corrupt practices.

    What a campaign. I can’t wait to see what the next day brings. But I know, it will bring hope for me as each day does. That our country stands strong, our weak get help and our soldiers are treated and presented with the finest care and equipment money can buy. Their families should have improved services from pre to post service offerings and should be state of the art.

  5. Yes, he is spontaneous, vindictive and unpredictable, but I too believe that he knows what he is doing and I like it. I read another very interesting article on Zero Hedge, “Nationalism and its discontents. A deep rumination on the meaning of Trump”. It is brilliant. If Trump is elected president and reforms the foreign politics,it will have an immense impact on the world. Towards peace, I hope.
    I read that Sanders is meeting with Obama.He goes to the White House to talk with Barry. It must be a terribly bad strategic stumble to be associated with this president.

  6. Powerful is the person that knows what he is doing and why. As for me, if I knew what I was doing, I’d be doing a better job at it. To bad the democrats lack a Trump character in their stable. Wonder if it comes down to a duel at 25 paces. Trump with a cannon verses Clinton with a sling-shot?

  7. I considered Trump as a viable candidate for President not anymore…….

    His scorched earth approach will leave the Republican Party destroyed and will hand the Democrats the White House.

    He likes to compare himself to Reagan. Reagan’s 11th commandment was right on. There were great Republicans who came into the Cabinet and made the Reagan Presidency great. If Reagan treated his fellow Republican candidates in 1980 like Trump then George HW Bush would not have been VP. Jim Baker would not have been Chief of Staff/Treasury and arguable the best SOS ever, Howard Baker Chief of Staff.

    Reagan best quality was his optimism and his goal to “Make America Great Again”. He didn’t destroy everyone to become President.

    • I would like to agree with you but cannot. RR was not facing the party as it is run by McConnell and Reid/Pelosi and he did not face the sheer destruction of Barack Obama and corruption of the Clinton machine. And the media, for all it has withheld from the American people, deserve this.

      So, what is being destroyed , in its present form, is not worth defending. But the constitution and the rule of law is.

      Obama has done impeachable acts. Hillary Clinton is a verifiable criminal. Donald Trump refused to participate in a media debate that was biased against him. Big whoop.

      • I don’t disagree with you. Trump stating he gets along with Pelosi, Reid and Shumer and is proud of that is pretty scary. His attack on Fox/Kelly shows he is cut from the same cloth as Obama. Does Trump really think think he is going to win over MSM? If bias is the reason not to debate then no one should do any debate. Hell, the Democrat Party won’t schedule a debate on Fox. Why? Because, they know Hillary will get tough questions and Sanders will be exposed as true Communist.

        Kelly asked Trump a tough question……the fact is Trump has said some very ugly things about women based solely upon their looks. Did RR treat women like this?

        I hate the personal attacks. It plays to the low info voters. I haven’t seen many Constitutional Scholars come out and support his argument against Cruz for not being qualified for President. Again, it plays to the ignorant.

        McConnell is nothing but a crook. I wanted KY to go Democrat in that election. Who called him out? Cruz.

        I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding the corruption that is ongoing is criminal. We do need a Constitutional Convention. One thing, I believed should be changed is the how the Attorney General is chosen and/or independent counsel are appointed. There is no way the AG and the President doesn’t have a conflict of interests in all the various scandals. Maybe each side gets 3 red flags like they do in the NFL for the Refs to,review the play. LOL

      • Thinking of Trump’s oft repeated saying of not signing on to a bad deal–this is exactly what made trump not participate in Thursday’s debate. He knew it was a bad deal for him. Pointless to join in the mess.

  8. I laughed when I read this. Fox is still whining this morning.
    Mr. Trump had (has? IDK) a reality show.
    He learned television and media through personal experience.
    He is using the manipulative techniques of the media for himself and against them.
    Hahahaha
    The man is a brilliant manipulator.
    Do Iowa voters care whether Trump is on these silly “debates?” I doubt it. Don’t think it hurts him at all.
    I know I don’t care. I hate watching these media staged events – there is no legitimate debating to witness.
    And yes Miss Meghan, you are full of yourself. You are no more of a brainiac than most of us – believe it or not.
    I do appreciate that Trump is doing a mighty good job of shaking up and airing out the status quo in our election process and in the media. It’s about time.

    • Whatever one thinks of Trump, he’s controlling the situation, and with ease. He shows up, and ratings go up for Fox and Trump. Trump cancels, Trump’s ratings go up and go down for Fox. Trump calls out the media, including Fox, and the media types started whining and put on their outraged face and the rest of us applaud. Spoiled brat Megyn Kelly whines about it all and the rest of us see her for the phony and the Norma Desmond she is. We all just watch and cheer at the whole spectacle, while Roger Ailes’ ego gets taught an important lesson. Don’t play games with Trump or he’ll make a public fool out of you.

      • As compared to whom ?
        The MSM ?
        Obama ?
        Congressional candidates ?

        IMO, the field is open to whomever wants to play.

        The media plays dirty and so does Trump.

        Rules,….?
        Screw the rules.

      • Talk about manipulating the public? What’s with little Miss YT Muslim lady at the debates? Look around — see any other religious — besides the Religion of Peace?

        Come to think of it — any other religion hacking, killing, beheading, raping their way around the world?

  9. My first reaction was “WTH”? and this will only play to the “he’s too chicken to face Megyn Kelly, how’s he going to handle Putin”?

    THEN I heard about the FoxNews trolling him with that childish press release.

    THEN I heard he was going to do a benefit for the Vets to call attention to their plight and how both parties have abandoned them.

    THEN I found out that Kelly had Michael Moore of all idiots on her show to assist in the Trump bashing.

    THEN I had to watch David Gregory sitting on the Special Report with Bret Baier. Yes THAT David Gregory, the one who plopped down the illegal 30 round magazine on MTP and dared the law to treat him as any other little person.

    That Fox News would hire a failed lib like Gregory and book the worst of the worst of the absolute worst Michael Moore in prime time to bash the Republican front runner tells me all I need to know: Fox News is as much a part of the problem as the rest of the media at this point. An establishment corporation doing the bidding of its establishment masters.

    So……my column for Sunday will be along the lines of: “Dear Iowa, please for the sake of the country, blow it up, blow it ALL up!”

    In any event, tomorrow night is shaping up to be nirvana for us political junkies.

    • This is not about Fox or it’s people, no matter how much they like to think it is.
      This is about MrTrump’s future, who will be our next President, and he has every right not to participate in a biased confrontation with the Fox people and everyone standing beside him on the stage.
      He’s leading. He doesn’t need this.

    • As soon as I read that silliness — the Fox press release — I thought like srdem65 — he doesn’t need this. And the subsequent endless bleating of Fox and Megyn is disturbing. Disappointed in Brett B that he would choose such an interview.

      Amazing when you think about it — Fox News, a “conservative media outlet” and the official Republican Party openly gunning for (that was fun)a Presidential candidate. Fair and balanced my patootie.

  10. The only way Donald gets to steal the show is if everyone keeps talking about it. He is acting like a big whiny baby. If he doesn’t get his way, he will take his ball and go home.
    I say go right ahead. Now we can actually concentrate on the people who have concrete and well formulated ideas for undoing Barack Obama’s mess.

  11. Yes, wonder where he learned the stompy foot. Of course, it’s about the news cycle. Yawn. You say what voters love–make that SOME voters, pls. I find it puerile and boring and, as you say, utterly predictable. Wah Wah.

    • If he really believes Fox is so not “nice” to him, let him buy the damn thing. That’s how a real manipulator would do it–buy the means of information. Or Fox could put on the debates for free–which they should anyway. Or if Trump wanted to help vets, do it on a different nite or write them a big check and blat about it… This whole thing is stupid as two boxes of hair.

  12. I’m sometimes on the fence about Trump but absolutely agree with his boycotting this debate. I don’t see this as a whiny little boy taking his toys and going home. Fox planned yet another Trump ambush. One of the you-tube stars invited to participate in the debate is anti-Trump and has compared him to Hitler. I can just imagine what kind of questions or remarks she’ll have for Trump.

    Joe, of Morning Joe, said Roger Ailes is trying to contact Trump’s wife and daughter to persuade Trump to appear in the debate. He (Joe)also said he’d rather set himself on fire in the street rather appear in a debate with Megyn Kelly.

    Lastly, Greta van Susteren took a poll of her viewers and 83% said they won’t watch the debate without Trump. Lost viewers = lost revenue. No wonder Ailes is desperate to get in touch with Trump. Serves them right.

    • According to Joe, they called these people…As a regular MoJoe viewer, I advise taking Joe with a grain of salt–he has been told to favor Trump now–he didn’t before.

    • Very interesting re the You Tube ‘star’ (that’s laughable in of itself). No question about it – FAUX News is out to ambush Trump. Sorry to rain on Miss Megyn’s parade (NOT).
      The love fest with Michael Moore last nite was disturbing, to say the least.

      I, too, am with Trump 100% on his decision. Lie down with dogs, rise up with fleas.
      Unlike Obama, Trump knows a ‘bad deal’ when he sees it. I think I’m warming up to him – at least momentarily.

      • Moore is a creep. I got in a fight with him in a CVS in DC once…I wanted to take him to task for his treatment of people in Roger & Me and he wanted to talk about a party we had both gone to and a person I knew who was there…Dumb exchange. To this day, my kid says, “There’s that guy, Mom…”

      • Seems like Trump saw this upcoming Thursday hootenanny as a bad deal for him. It would have been. It’s appears to me that he and Ailes are somehow locked in a billionaire’s “mine is bigger than yours” hog rassle. Megyn Kelly is just the idiot tool Ailes is using to get at Trump. Ailes says “Jump!!” to Kelly, and she just says, “How high, sir?”

        You have to believe that every question the so-called Fox moderators pose has been vetted by Ailes. He is a notorious control freak (as Trump might well be) and wants the debate to go a certain way. Surely, Trump has little spies inside the Fox machine, who tell him some inside stuff, and he knew what was coming, not inconceivably the very questions themselves.

        So Trump’s long term mantra has been to do good deals, and avoid bad deals, however he defines a bad deal. That’s exactly what he’s done here.

        Now just imagine Trump using this same technique making a working out a deal with the Iranians over this nuclear affair. He would know a bad deal instantly and would walk away from it, while exposing the Iranians for the madmen they are. Unlike Obama who is as dumb as a stick in these matters. We wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now with the Iranians. He just walks away from a known or perceived bad deal, just like normal people. That’s my take away from this affair.

  13. All of this commotion and tempest in a tea pot about Trump’s absence from the so-called debate on Fox—this happens in an interesting political environment.
    1. The trust and credibility in the media, Congress, the Supreme Court, government agencies, the direction of the country–name your public institution or measure–is at record lows. People are ticked off.
    2. These X-Factor-style television debates draw a very small segment of our 330,000,000 population. What, 10-15 million viewers? 4-5 percent? That’s pathetic. The vast majority of the population is not watching.
    3. People are sick and tired of these media moderators pretending to want to get to the “truth” with these candidates. We all know that’s not what’s motivating them. Their marching orders are to drive up the ratings for their networks. Make money for the boss by asking every dumb, gotcha question imaginable and watch the candidates sweat it out. Force the candidates to get angry. Pit them against one another in the cheapest possible manner. Hire Simon Cowell if that’s what they want to achieve. When the moderators become the issue, something is very wrong with the process, obviously.

    The whole effort is a bunch of hooey and everyone knows it.

    The American people be much better served if the moderators were solid experts in various fields–international relations, the US Constitution, American political life, immigration policies, etc. We’d be better served if the debates were organized by, say, Hillsdale College, or the Heritage Foundation, or the Claremont Institute.

      • Thanks. Had to get it off my chest. The path to fixing this catastrophic, ridiculous “debate” process seems pretty clear. But the media won’t take that path for their own reasons. In the Lincoln Douglas debates, way back when, there were only two people on the stage. Lincoln and Douglas. They said what they said. Thousands of people showed up to hear them. They learned useful something about the candidates. They weren’t “played” by a self-absorbed, corrupt, media.

  14. I just discovered that Trump is worth approx. 4 or 4 1/5 billion. Wow, by the way he talks I thought it would be much more. Gonna take at least a billion (of his own money) to get elected. Hmm, In this economy can he afford that big of loss for a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.

    • He has blurted, if you follow those blurts, that he would take federal money for the general…rich people hate to use their own money. Of course, Obama said that, too–and then found he would coax more from his groupies.

      O’Reilly’s interview with him last nite was grotesque. Embarrassing. I emailed him:

      You were trying to call on your “friendship” with Trump and jolly him out of his childish little tantrum while still retaining his friendship. Believe me, he may go to ball games with you–but he uses you, too, for his ends. I am no Megyn fan, but you threw her under the old bus. And the whole Christian angle was just plain pathetic.

      I am a regular viewer and have been for yrs–I would like to think Ailes asked you to do it, but I suspect you thought you could be the savior. You captured your own ratings and chunk of news cycle with that performance–happy now?

      I will not watch the stupid event Trump is throwing–will Fox be two-faced enough to cover it for ratings?