Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Trump will not Attend Fox's Republican Debate
On Tuesday Donald Trump announced his plans to boycott the Republican Debate scheduled for Thursday the 28th. This came as a surprise to some, as the debate provides a final opportunity to build momentum into the Iowa caucus that is only a week away. Trump is instead planning to hold a fundraiser that day for the Wounded Veterans Foundation.
This has been building up for months and is not the first time Trump has threatened to boycott a debate. Trump threatened to boycott the Dec 15th CNN debate unless CNN made a 5 million dollar donation to Wounded Veterans. Eventually CNN called his bluff and he still attended without the donation made.
His threats seems serious this time as the conflict between he and FOX news has risen greatly. The conflict all stems from the August FOX news debate, where Trump felt debate moderator Megyn Kelly was out of line with her questioning of Trump's views on women. Since then, Trump has attacked her on many occasions, even calling her a "third-rate reporter." After the announcement that Kelly would again moderate this upcoming debate, Trump immediately requested her removal. FOX has viciously defended Kelly and has even made some taunting remarks towards Trump questioning his overall political toughness. This has been repeated by the other GOP candidates such as Ted Cruz who questioned whether Trump could deal with tough leaders such as Vladimir Putin if he can't even handle a few tough debate questions.
The decision to not attend a debate that is so close to a caucus is unprecedented, however it is yet to be seen if this is a good strategy move for the Trump campaign. Conventional wisdom might say that this is the wrong move, highlighting weakness by appearing as if he can't handle tough questions. However nothing about the Trump campaign has been conventional and this move has allowed Trump to dominate the news cycle yet again. We learned the importance of winning news cycles in the War Room and this cycle will be taken by Trump just a few days before the first caucus.
My questions are do you think Trump's ability to not attend a debate yet still gain political advantage a reflection of the weakness of debates? How much do debates matter if the leading candidate can
choose when or if he wants to participate?