Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In the Middle of 5th Avenue

Donald Trump said this over the past weekend,

"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters,"

Who knew that we would find out so soon whether or not he was right?

I believe that Trump just stood in the middle of 5th Avenue and shot himself in the foot by stating that he is not going to participate in the Fox News Channel debate tomorrow night.

His reason---he thinks debate moderator Megyn Kelly is unfair to him. Trump was also not happy with the response that Fox News gave when he asked that Kelly be removed as a moderator.


There are many Trump supporters who disagree with my assessment. They hail the "brilliance" of Trump in standing up to the establishment media and creating another PR media storm that will divert attention away from the debate and on to him right before the Iowa caucus.

Many of those supporters seem to believe that Trump is going to severely damage Fox's tv ratings for the debate and during the election.

As an example, @LriHendry tweeted this last night,

#Trump can win the race without Fox. Fox News needs Trump for ratings! The media will report on what he says wherever he is! #Trump2016

The fact is that Fox News was doing just fine with its ratings before Trump ever entered politics. It is also a fact that Trump needs Fox News and other media outlets a lot more than they need him. Media air time is the oxygen of a political campaign. No one has proven that more than Trump. Without that oxygen, campaigns die.

Trump says that the Fox News response to his threat to boycott the debate was childish. He may be right. However, is he going to take umbrage and complain every time that happens as President? If that is the case he will never get anything done in office.

It does make you wonder what Trump's reaction will be if the votes don't come as easily to him as the poll numbers have. In politics, not everyone is going to like you and it is never going to be fair.

Someone once said that in politics it is not wise to "argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel."

Today you could say the same about someone who controls 24 hours of content every day on cable tv that also reaches almost 100 million American households. And the households that are watching FNC regularly are the ones that Trump most needs to win the Republican primary.

It seems to me that Trump is bleeding in the middle of 5th Avenue and he now has to figure out which side of the street he goes to.

One choice is to push ahead across the street as he has done consistently in this race. He doubles down again and risks looking like a petulant child. And he hardly looks Presidential at a time that real votes are cast for the Republican candidate for President.

He risks looking even worse with this strategy over the next few days because in 2011 he praised Megyn Kelly for her skill as a debate moderator.

Here is the story as reported in The Blaze.

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump once complimented Fox News host Megyn Kelly for her performance moderating a GOP debate in 2011.

Trump spoke to Kelly in 2011 about his frustration with candidates refusing to participate in a debate he was set to host with NewsMax. The businessman implied the Republican candidates declining invitations to attend his debate lacked “courage.”

He then heaped praise on Kelly.

“Do you really think you’re a better moderator than I am?” Kelly asked.

“No,” Trump promptly replied. “I could never beat you. That wouldn’t even be close. That would be no contest.”

The billionaire added, “You have done a great job, by the way. And I mean it.”

How many times will we see that clip on TV over the next few days? 

I guess Megyn Kelly only does a "great job" when she is not questioning Donald.

His other choice is to retreat to the safe side of the street and agree to participate in the debate. However, doing that bursts the bubble on Donald Trump. He begins to look just like every other politician. That move will be particularly dangerous with Trump's core constituency.

Of course, if he retreats he will never admit he erred. He will make some grandiose claim about his decision to rejoin the debate. However, the Trump campaign will no longer be the same.

Trump is in no-man's land in the middle of 5th Avenue.

Trump is like the high wire performer at the circus who performs without a net.

You just have to watch. You think you should turn away but you just can't.

However, supporting Donald Trump is Risky Business as I wrote in my last blog post.

If he wins the GOP Primary, it is not just him up there on that high wire.
All Republicans and other Americans who want to change the direction of the country are up there with him.

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