Later, 11:34 a.m. Central Time: this is quite amazing. Shortly after writing the post below, I came across articles in two liberal papers who unanimously agree that Donald Trump "won" the debate last night -- for the same reason I suggested below. The stories: one in The Guarian and one on the front page of The Los Angeles Times. Pretty funny.
Yesterday "everybody" was opining that Trump made a huge mistake; now these same sources are all saying his move was brilliant. LOL.
The [London] Guardian: Trump just proved: it's possible to win a debate without showing up.
The clear winner of the final Republican debate, just four days before the first votes are cast in Iowa, was the Macavity candidate.
Just like the mystery cat, Donald Trump was nowhere near the scene of the crime at the Fox News debate. You could find him on rival news channels, but the damage was already done to poor Ted Cruz: the only candidate who could come close to beating him in Iowa.
Cruz, standing exposed in the middle of the stage, was subject to a barrage of fire from the moderators and his rival candidates. And Trump didn’t have to do any of the dirty work himself.The Los Angeles Times, the very top story, the very top at the on-line edition -- above the Flint, MI, story; above the ISIS story; above the Russian airliner story; above everything -- Even in boycott, Donald Trump succeeds in winning Republican debate.
The unorthodox political strategy that has kept Donald Trump at the top of the Republican presidential field may have triumphed again with his much-disputed decision not to attend Thursday's televised debate in Iowa.
He was not there to be pierced by video clips employed to great effect against other candidates by the Fox News moderators. He was not there to attract insults from the rest of the pack, and in his absence few were offered. He was not there to step into any sort of quicksand that might have threatened his national lead and his strength in Iowa, where the first votes will be cast in caucuses Monday night.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, vying for prominence below Trump, got the added stage time each has desired as they battle for the territory below the front-runner. But both appeared churlish at times and may have suffered from an extended fight over immigration, which included video clips in which each man contradicted his more recent statements which he then had to explain from the stage.
Trump's departure left Cruz as the preeminent candidate on stage, and the result was not what Cruz might have hoped. Fox anchor Megyn Kelly asked Cruz .... And then he was challenged by moderator Chris Wallace on whether his votes on military issues matched his incendiary rhetoric about fighting ISIS.
He replied by asserting -- incorrectly -- that the United States had carpet-bombed Iraq in the first Gulf War, a tactic he has said he would use against ISIS even though it is considered a war crime. (Although the Persian Gulf war bombing was incessant, it was targeted at military sites and sought to avoid civilian casualties.)
Rubio then jumped on Cruz, saying that the Texan hadn't taken action as a senator to rebuild the military.Pretty funny.
"The only budget that Ted has ever voted for is a budget that Rand Paul sponsored that brags about cutting defense spending," Rubio said, knocking Cruz and the Kentucky senator standing nearby.
I'm sure most folks have heard that Donald Trump skipped the last debate in Iowa before the voting begins Monday.
This is what happened: the two leading men at the bottom of the pack -- Jeb Bush and Chris Christie -- with each of them polling about 1% were able to steal votes/support from the others that showed up at the debate, namely, Cruz and Rubio. Since Cruz is Trump's only "serious" challenger in Iowa, and because Rubio is Trump's only "serious" challenger nationally, it worked out quite well for The Donald. He may do well to skip a few future debates.
With short notice, Trump filled his venue -- filled his venue? That's what was reported. My hunch is he "overfilled" his venue and had to turn back some wanting to get in.
Be that as it may, if one does not know who Trump is or who his rivals are by now, I doubt any more debates will make much difference. Again, the Dems did it right. Three debates during Sunday Night Football. The GOP has scheduled x+1 too many debates, where "x" stands for number of debates as of last night.