(This blog is about the US elections 2016, not about tech or mobile). If you want to read the stuff, follow me across the fold
I want to talk about two bizarre developments in the US Presidential race that both relate in some way to polls. Donald Trump and now 24% support among Republicans and far ahead first-place ranking on Mondays ABC/WaPo poll. And Hillary Clinton shocker in the Quinnipiac poll out yesteday that in three battleground states (CO, IA and VA) she is losing in head-to-head polls against each of Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio.
So first off, lets be clear, polls at this state are still very preliminary and more are indication of name recognition. Neither party has yet had even their first debate, and the debates are what start to focus electorate interest. Furthermore polls often this far out find the blips of candidates as the electorate discovers someone new and exciting. Its normal for many up-and-down cycles for newcomers (first nomination primaries and caucuses start in February and the actual election isn't until November of 2016). Secondly, both ABC/WaPo and Quinnipiac are well trusted well referenced large-sample polls of good processes so I have no quarrel at all with their reliability as polling organizations. But lets take the developments in order.
TRUMP IS HOGGING ALL OXYGEN
So Trump came in and I did say I expect him to take all the attention of the Republican cycle. I expected him to often be in the press. And from his humble 4% average rating, I did expect Trump to move up. I had no idea how totally he would own the discussion the past weeks or how far he'd climb. I didn't think he'd get to first place and by no means, did I think he'd take essentially half of the media attention. Nate Silver at the 538 blog has calculated that Trump has had 46% of all news stories of all the 16 Republican candidates! Yes. One guy gets almost half, and the other 15 split the rest. its been total. Nate found that Jeb Bush the candidate who was in the lead, has only had one in eight press stories. And to cover the issue that is this Trump phenomenon a media creation, he also measured Google Search terms and found that the public's interest in Trump is far greater proportionately even than that coverage. He has had 62% of the searches of GOP candidates in the same period, Jeb Bush had one in 11 searches.
Now. I thought that the US electorate would reject his bombastic style. I thought he had ruined his chances with the Hispanics are rapists comments when he started. Any normal political operative or at least his/her campaign manager would have soon came in with the reasonable apologies. Now however, we've seen Trump never apologize and double down on that comment and then tripled down on it. He dug up all sorts of supposed facts to support his case and then came the San Francisco sanctuary city murderer and then El Chapo escaped in Mexico and Trump gets to continue the ridiculous story and remind everybody of his racists positions. Any conventional wisdom would suggest that was lunacy as campaign strategy and Trump would have to apologize. Of course he didn't. And now we have the Fox poll which shows that 70% of Republican voters actually agree with Trump's basic position, that Mexicans are criminals.
So. Trump the clever politician? Did he know this or did he just happen to strike oil? Clearly from his announcement speech, that Mexicans are rapists line was not in the written speech, that was Trump going off-script into extemporaneous ranting in his bombastic style. But he HAS articulated in more explicit tone than any other candidate, that Mexicans are criminals and the Fox-viewing foreigner-hating xenophobic Republican base.. agree with him and applaud him for it. Wow. 70% agree with the sentiment? I knew there was fear and dislike of foreigners in the base of Republcians especially in the Tea Party wing but 7 of 10 agree with that factually incorrect statement (the truth is that immigrants are less likely to be involved in crime than non-immigrants). Shows what watching Fox does to your brain haha... but lets go further.
Is there any chance for Trump to tone down his rhetoric about immigration and crime and building the biggest fence, thats gonna be beautiful, and the Mexicans will pay for it... of course not. If 70% of Republicans agree with this position and it propelled his climb from 4% to 24%.. that is pure gold. Expect Trump to continue to ride the anti-foreigner hatered into the months to come.
Now, what does that do to the rest of the field. This is 70% of the party. There will be more who join. Or as Trump issues a quote per hour, there will be some occasions where Trump says something that is a variation, that a given rival might suddenly agree with (obviously Ted Cruz is playing Robin to Trump's Batman so he's all loving every Trumpism). Trump also reads and hears at least some of the analysis of his campaign with various experts and pundits giving him advice. And he does have a campaign manager too. So what does Trump learn. That they are all idiots and morons and only Trump knows how to win, and look how it took him only two weeks to destroy the competition and do it his way, to tower over his rivals. This is how delusion sets in. Hitler became convinced he was smarter than his generals. I am not suggesting Trump is evil like Hitler, I mean, this is typical of delusion. Trump has now absolute irrefutable evidence that he is smarter than all the pundits. So we will get far more of his style of madness. And there is no way to shut him down before at least the first primaries in February. If he should have imploded by his lunatic statements and the party rallying against him, he's past that point now. The McCain war hero stuff (I'll get to it in a moment) was perfect proof to Trump that he can take all who pile upon him, and use it for more media time, like a perfect internet troll.
NOW THE REBEL VOTE
One part of Trump's support was his name recognition and celebrity status. There is in the Republican party also a part who value business competence and of those, some will be drawn to Trump's vast wealth and that achievement. But in this field of 16, those would not get him to 10%. A big part was the Xenophobia wing that he's now activated. And then comes the Tea Party darling ie Sarah Palin routine. Its the lamestream media who is out to get you, and being the maverick against the party. These past days have now ignited the anti-establishment side of the party, especially Tea Party and that is probably what pushed Trump to the range over 20%. There are plenty of candidates who pander to the Tea Party but nobody took that extreme angle in a Sarah Palin in-your-face level of 'speaking the truth' in how Trump now is perceived. And as the party mainstream attack Trump, he will always strike back, immediately and full force. And he isn't pulling punches and he makes everything valid material. Like mocking Rick Perry not just for being dumb but for buying those silly glasses (hey, thats MY line..)
This plays well with the 'we hate anyone' niches of the Republican party when Trump just blasts out whatever has ever been said of any rival. That Carly Fiorina is a failed CEO who was fired. Or that one of the candidates (there are so many, I forget which one it was) came to announce without being dressed appropriately, or that Rick Perry announced in a building where there was no air conditioning.. and then obviously that all these are reasons to consider that given candidate unfit to run, if they get the basics wrong... But for each of those attacks, he of course gets under the skin of the rivals (the basic psychology of power negotiating and getting the other guy off his/her game) and these connect with especially all those Republican base voters who think the party has sold them out and are wimps who don't fight for the cause.
Now, the irony of course is that on most of his political views Trump is so centrist that he'd fit far better on the Democratic side in 2016 than the Republican field this year. And of course he's not a real Republican or conservative at all, this is just his preferred platform to get more publicity. He knows he isn't going to win, but if he's able to amass 5% or 10% of the delegates and the race is undecided, Trump could play for super-high-stakes poker with his delegates and pick the next President and get his company all sorts of unbelievable favors and he'd become the most valuable political insider and lobbyist there ever was, even more powerful arguably than Dick Cheney was (regardless of who actually wins the election ie Hillary).
So for those who think they want a 'maverick' who isn't afraid to speak his mind and do his own thing... yes, Trump would be the most uncontrollable candidate ever, but when will the Republicans wake up to the fact, that Trump is for more taxes to the rich, no war with Iran, pro-choice (ie anti-abortion), a single-payer healthare system ie even 'more socialist' solution than Obamacare, etc etc etc. He is so centrist, in the modern Republican party he doesn't fit inside. He's more like a conservative Democrat. And yes, more socialist liberal than President Obama, very close to what Hillary Clinton's positions were a few years ago (recently Hillary has moved far more to the left). This is the worst nightmare for Republican voters, if the guy is not even committed to any conservative ideas even if he didn't actually believe in them. Its exactly like what he said about religion - he just drinks the wine and he's forgiven - or what he said earlier about wanting to be loved, that he'll happily tell untruths about who left whom, just so that he, Trump, can feel better about it. He's a lunatic. And if that was a die-hard conservative lunatic (think Rush Limbaugh) then that would make SOME sense to conservatives but a fake pretend conservative who is utterly uncontrollable and on almost all positions except immigration, he's actually a liberal... why would they ever vote for him.
But those realities will not come out, until the debates start. And that will not be the end of Trump, I think it will only be the ceiling that he will hit. And if Trump can hold 15% he'll win delegates, and he might well hold 20% or even 25%, the way he is playing this game.
Imagine Jon Stewart running for office as a Democrat and then taking his full trolling capability to mock all rivals, both on the Republlican - AND Democratic side? He'd be the easy early favorite and he'd easiliy get tons of coverage because he knows the issues and he could throw bombs at both sides. That is kind of what Trump is now doing. Yes, he also remembers to call Obama a failed President and Hillary the worst Secretary of State of all time, but he also continuously attacks most of his rivals. Relentlessly. And the moment any one attacks Trump, he'll retaliate with a vengeance. Like Lindsay Graham (who is at zero percent and has no chance of getting to the Fox debate and is clearly now desperate to do and say anything to get some TV airtime). So why would a front-runner bother with the guy who is languishing at 14th out of 16? But Trump could not let Graham's comments go unanswered and Trump calls Graham stupid and achieving nothing and wanting war.
BTW did you notice that Fox caved and now are doing like CNN, with the kids' table debate for one hour just before the main event. Haha, yeah... it is better for democracy to at least let those second tier guys be seen on the same day even though they'll get a smaller audience and don't get to engage with the front-runners (I do wonder about the questions, if the same questions come on both debate,s then the adults table debate gets advance warning to prepare. If not, then why would the kids table get the best questions... ) Someone had a really good solution, do two debates back-to-back, with all 16 candidates in attendance but a draw held for who participates in each, and the draw held just before the first debate starts. The second group wait for their turn that same evening. If CNN did the same with their debate, with random luck, most candidates would share the stage with most rivals (but obviously also with randomness, not all would face every rival). Two sets of 8 debating both 90 minutes, means also that the candidates would have more time than the current Fox with 1 hour for the kids table and 90 minutes for the grown-ups.
THEN THE WAR HERO
So we get to the war hero gaffe. Another spontaneous unforced error by Trump. This was so bad (he said he didn't think McCain was a war hero because he was caught. Trump 'liked' those veterans who didn't get caught. He soon backtracked a bit and said that yes McCain was a hero but the damage was done. And now we've had days of the establishment piling on Trump to demand he apologize. Note the ABC WaPo poll had Trump's support up to 28% before he made the disparaging commnets about McCain not being a war hero. So if the final stat was 24% over three days and for 2 days it was 28%, that means that the last day, after the McCain mess, his support sank to 16%. And Trump knows this too. Thats why we did get the non-apology from him on Monday. But again. Will this hurt him? If he attacked daddy Bush for not being a war hero, that would have been taken very badly by the base. But John McCain? He did lose to Obama. He has been often taking centrist positions and feuded with the party and when he's feuded with it, he's taken the liberal side. So he is often thought of as a RINO (Republican In Name Only).
And notice again how vicious and petty Trump is when he attacks. Its not just that McCain isn't a real war hero, but also that McCain 'doesn't do enough for the veterans' (haha to which veteran associations rose immediately in protest). And then the petty part - that McCain finished second to last in his class at Annapolis (actually McCain was 5th from last). And Trump likes to brag that he went to the Wharton School. Yes, University of Pennsylvania Wharton school for MBA is very prestigious but not as prestigious as say Harvard. But yes, MBA from Wharton would be a major academic merit but Trump didn't go to THAT famous Wharton. He was at their UNDERGRADUATE school and what did he study there? He got a degree in Economics the most vague and useless of any business degrees. Meanwhile McCain became a fighter pilot - a FAR more difficult and challenging achievement WHILE graduating at Annapolis and FAR beyond that, McCain achieved the status of aircraft carrier flight certification, a VERY hard and dangerous skill and arguably the US Navy pilots are the best in the world because of that added danger of carrier operations. So this accusation is so petty and pointless and comes from someone who has no standing to make such claims (incidentially, there are stories now that classmates of Trump don't recall him at all while he was at Wharton haha, was he even there? Can we see some transcripts and Trump's birth certificate too haha). But my point is, its not enough for Trump to strike once, when he hits back. He comes with everything from whats relevant (perhaps) to utterly silly things like finishing near the back in his student days..
Again. Attacking a true war hero should hurt Trump. The Republican party is the party of strong defense, so its sacrilege to insult veterans and even more so any truly undisputedly heroic veteran such as McCain. Almost any candidate in the past would have seen the campaign end if there was not an immediate apology. But not Trump. And again, its McCain. He did first of all, 'start it' by calling Trump supporters crazies (they don't want to be thought of that even as they are haha). And McCain has angered the base plenty enough. Yes, Trump support fell quite dramatically by the daily polling from 28% to 16% - a 12 point drop - only two candidates have 12 points or more on the GOP field right now haha (Walker at 13% and Bush at 12%). But I would guess that of the support he is now consolidating, some cheer him when he goes after the establishment, espeically a RINO like John McCain, and some may even feel McCain has played his war hero card far too long and strong to their liking... Again, whether wily like a fox or simply by dumb-luck, Trump is touching a raw nerve that activates his support.
Will Trump's ride be volatile with ups and downs, gosh obviously yes. Can he win some primaries, I am now convinced he can win some. Can he win the nomination, of course not. His unconventional style might succeed but his liberal positions, when exposed, will deteriorate too much of his base conservative support who will see him the most liberal 'major' candidate they've ever witnessed (which is also true). As I said, Trump's political positions are more in line with the Democratic party today than the Republicans. And that truth will be happily exposed - when the time comes, by those who need to do it, ie Jeb Bush and the other mainstream candidates like Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. If they did that now, it would be wasted but the right time to strike Trump is in the debates when they have the maximum audience. It will also be a contest of who can slay the dragon ie a test of manhood in the GOP. The strongest players are keeping their powder dry for that moment. It will be the end of any dreams of winning the nomination but it will also produce a response and reaction by Trump that will be exceptional haha... I can't wait for the debates...
Also here is how I think that will play out.. I think some sensible persuadable intelligent conservative Trump supporters will almost instantly drop him and never come back. Thats at least half of his current 24% support. But a significant part of the rest includes fanatical stubborn dumb conservatives who will see this as the party attacking their guy and will stay loyal. Its a bit like the exposed Sarah Palin was still holding a bizarrely high level of support from base Tea Party even after she proved out to be so clueless she wrote catch-phrases onto her hand for her speeches (long lists of them in fact). And some will not admit to supporting Trump. I guess his actual vote in the early states will be higher than polls before, simply because some who now say they support him, then hear their friends sour on Trump and turn on him, still secretly like what he's saying, so like racists who voted against Obama simply because he was black, there will be some who secretly vote for Trump inspite of it all and who won't admit to that support in polls.
Trump took all the oxygen out of the room as I warned. But he's now far more dangerous to the party, because he's been vindicated that he can lead the pack. He feels attacked by the mainstream so he's only more motivated to fight rather than conform or compromise. He sees that his own style works better than what any pundit had suggested he should do, so he will now stumble onto ever worse gaffes and problems. He knows his outrageous statements get him airtime and press ink, so he continues his bombastic style. It will be entertaining but this is poisoning what is left of the good will towards the Republican party and he is damaging the chances of the Republican party holding the Senate or even the House. (I stand convinced that Hillary is cruising to an easy victory, we'll get to her polls in just a moment). And of that Mexicans are Criminals position? The Republicans believe it, but of course all Americans are not in agreement as per the same Fox poll haha... So yeah, this all is just playing to ever worsening prospects for the party, every day getting ever more groups to think worse of the Republicans. Hispanics, veterans, and now deeply religious voters too that Trump has managed to anger wih his holy communion comments.
Will Trump fall like Rudy Giuluiani or Michelle Bachmann and the various favorite-of-the-month flavors of the past? I don't think so. He has so far touched on so much of the base that he has a good 10% in the bank already and can easily live in the 15% to 25% range depending on the day and poll. That means he'll be easily in the top 3 and can often be on the top of the poll. This up to at least the first debate or two. After his liberal tendencies are exposed in the debates, he will then fall back into the pack but not to its bottom, I think. And his 'real' voter support will be stronger than his polling will show. I think we'll have the Trump show for a good while into the primaries of 2016. Great for us fans of political theater and nightmare for the Republican party. And delegates to Trump will only add to the possibilities of a brokered convention that I outlined earlier this year.
HILLARY LOSING IN 3 BATTLEGROUND STATES
So we have Quinnipiac poll of three battleground states, Colorado, Iowa and Virginia, all states that Obama won in 2008 and 2012 but all states that were close and are deeply constested. Virginia was very close both times. Every day when I have time to check out the non-tech news online, I go to Real Clear Politics polling page first, and when I saw these polls, I was truly stunned. So Hillary losing in these three states, in head-to-head matches, against Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker and Marco Rubio. All three, in all these three states? By roughly a 5 point margin, so its quite a huge gap too. That is MASSIVELY odd, because in EACH of these states, the previous polling by any other pollster has had Hillary safely ahead. EACH of these match-ups, the previosu poll had her ahead. And typically by about 5 points. And some are very recent. Virginia PPP polling was out just a week earlier and had Hillary holding the lead she had in previous head-to-head polling and yes by about a 5 point lead against each of these three.
So first, I go by the math. If this turns out to be true, Hillary has experienced in the past week or so, a catastrophic collapse of her support. Note its not that a rival has had a great week, because this is all three GOP candidates who all have flipped from negative to positive vs Hillary, in three separate states, that means it has to be her, not them. So yeah, I recognize, this is a reputable pollster and they have reported what their polling found. I do find it extremely odd, however, and have to treat this with considerable scepticism. But if there has been such a massive and nationwide fall in her support, that will be visible to all pollsters who should soon be out with their own polls verifying at least part of that collapse too. If not.. then its one of two things, either its a mistake. Its possible that at some stage, the columns got inverted, and Quinnipiac polling actually measured 5 point lead for Hillary against Bush, Rubio and Walker in these three states, as the other pollsters have found recently, and at some stage there was some accident that the numbers just got reported wrong. Those things do happen but also good pollsters shoudl have processes to confirm numbers and all red flags must have been raised at Qunnipiac when these findings came out, they must have done their spot-checks to verify their findings are accurate.
And the other possibility is a genuine outlier. That is VERY hard to believe on three separate polls of 3 separate survey audiences simultaneously but it could be. And that would be then indicated by next polls that would revert the results to what was previous to this poll. And obviously we might get a correction by Quinnipiac but that I am not holding my breath for haha...
So let me do my protests of why is this so unbelievable. First yes, the previous polling by all except Quinnipiac. Quinnipiac's own polling in Colorado had Rubio and Walker already 1 point ahead of Hillary the previous time, but Bush trailing Hillary by 5 points. Now Qunnipiac has Bush up by 5, Rubio by 8 and Walker by 9. So a 10 point swing for Bush and Walker, 9 point swing for Rubio. Huge. And in the other two states, a reversal of all 3 candidates compared to the previous poll by another pollster.
Is it possible for Hillary to fall suddenly, of course. But she didn't go insulting all Mexicans for being rapists or all war veterans. In fact, there is very little of Hillary Clinton in the news in the past week or two. She had an economic speech I think, and a pretty boring one at that. And a few statements that seemed to me to be perfectly in line with mainstream US views like condemning Trump etc. Why would there be a COLLAPSE of her support if there is no sudden crisis with her campaign? The email stuff is ancient. Iran support is mainly Obama's thing but Hillary is on the side where the majority US population is (as typical of her positions). The 'she can't be trusted' theme is years old, there is nothing there that is anything radically new now. That book about her came out months ago etc. I can see an EROSION of her support gradually but not a collapse in a week.
But then there is the national polling. These are three battleground states ie states that are close to even. If there is a national trend against Hillary (these three states are geographically far from each other) then it should show up in the national polling as well. Maybe not as strongly but it should be there. The Real Clear Politics average of Hillary vs Bush is 5.9 points for Hillary. That covers six polls over the past 6 weeks. The latest poll that ended last week had Hillary at +6. No collapse at all, arguably slight improvement. Walker vs Hillary RCP polilng average says 10.4 points for Hillary today. Latest of those five polls, out last week had Hillary improving to 11. And Rubio? His five polls vs Hillary head-to-head has Hillary up by 7.2 percent. Here is the only poll where its moved slightly to Marco's favor last week when he was down only by 6 points.
Now the Quinnipiac finding is VERY suspicious. If there is a simultaneous collapse of Hillary's support it he past week or two, and it is worth about 10 points of a fall, and it happens in three regions of the nation, but all national polling shows an even race against each of these three candidates (and that lead is consistent over time) then the Quinnipiac finding is truly in doubt.
Again, I must go with the math. So we have to monitor these three states and see the next poll and see is there any confirmation of this sudden 10 drop collapse. Or if that appears now shortly in a national poll even at only part of that say 5 points. If so, then Hillary's campaign is having a major crisis. Note that its quite PLAUSIBLE for a severe crisis in a couple of states that doesn't get national coverage. Its possible there is a vicious attack-ad campaign striking her in those three states right now, going on for about a week, and that could cause this. Something like the 'swift boat' attack ads that hit John Kerry in the 2004 election. If that is the case, we should hear in a day or two, what is the huge damage going on in those states that is causing catastrophic failure to her campaign and threatening the very election. But there is no sign or indication or noise of any kind suggesting this is happening.
Note, this has nothing to do with the nomination fight inside the Democratic party. Hillary is playing this super smartly. Her rivals are political midgets of no chance of winning. Even Joe Biden scores about even with Bernie Sanders in the polls when he's included (Biden is not running) and Biden was no match whatsoever to Hillary back in 2008. Hillary is utterly crushing the Democratic field like no candidate ever has this far out who was not a sitting President. Hillary's lead is 42 points. Notice that is not her support. Its her LEAD. She has 58% support vs number two Sanders at 16%. Yes Sanders is a cute socialist of impassionate speeches and the Democratic party is bored, they will come watch anyone speak to them and Sanders makes nice talking points. He will never win the Democratic nomination and everybody knows this. Which is why Hillary is letting him do his little noises and not crush him. She prefers this pretend race so its not that hated coronation. The moment she gets serious the race is over. And she will let Bernie and the other three boys do their little dance while she counts time. For her the race isn't starting until the convention.
But that actual contest of 2016? I warned that the Republican field has to resort to outrageous gimmicks to get out of the shadow of Trump. Did you catch Walker saying he's ready to bomb Iran on day 1. This is a 'front runner' and serious candidate? Jeb Bush has said no citizenship for illegals, only second class citizen status. These are the front-runners and they are starved for oxygen
Now Trump? He may at some point split and decide to run as an Independent. That means at least 48 states for Hillary and both the Senate and the House. But he may also be defeated and it could well go so, that many of his supporters do not find a suitable home for their anger (Ted Cruz working overtime to earn that vote) and they could just hate the offical Republican ticket - and stay home on election day. Especailly if all polls say Hillary is cruising for a 10 point win. Again, Hillary wins not just by landslide but gets the Senate and the House.
Now its ALSO possible that Trump is activating that Nixonian 'silent majority' but there is not much there for Republicans. The Republican support is far more reliable than Democratic support. In 2012 the Romney campaign churned out even more of the base conservative support in his loss than McCain did in 2008. So the support level of the silent majority is pretty high already for Republicans (but there is far more potential on the Democratic side and Trump is a divisive character, his motivation effect is likely GREATER on the Democratic side of the ledge than on his side). And that effect is then diminished as Trump won't be on the final ticket anyway.
But the damage.. With the veterans issue the candidates did jump fast to condemn Trump so its likely the veterans will not punish the eventual GOP nominee for what Trump said in 2015. But the Hispanics and other minorities. Those 'Mexicans are rapists' comments repeated for two weeks without any major Republican objections by most of their candidates and leaders, left a strong impression on Hispanics and other minorities. They were already in the Democratic column. Recent Republican math has said they need at least 40% of the Hispanic vote or they can't win the Presidential election. McCain had 31% in 2008. Romney had 27% in 2012. The GOP election autopsy identified Hispanics as one of the targets to fix for 2016. Trump has damaged those chances severely. And thats before all the 'no amnesty' positions by the front-runners and that then against Hillary's pandering promise of amnesty to all who didn't break laws while in the USA. Trump is what Lindsay Graham called a wrecking ball to the Republican party and Trump is by far the best gift the Democrats could have ever hoped for. Even Sarah Palin as candidate could not damage the party as much as Trump is doing, nor would Sarah have the longevity as a thorn to the party as Trump will now be.
So, with the caveat that assuming the Quinnipiac poll finds no harmony from other polls and is either in error or an honest statistical outlier of no significance, then all is okey-dokey for the Hillary 2016 machine which can continue to sleep-walk this pre-season and dream about the wallpapers for the Oval Office. And Trump can't be tossed out or blocked before the debates. If the Republican field is not prepared and come loaded for bear, they have to endure Trump at his worst for another two months until the CNN debate. But if not now, then by the second debate Trump will be set to his place. I am betting on Huckabee and that it will be now in August on Fox. Whoever slays the dragon will be the king for the day and he (Carly will not be in that debate) will receive a bump in the polls. But even slaying Trump on stage will not expel him from the race. He will then be, as we say in Finland, 'kuin peppuun ammuttu karhu' ie like a grizzlybear shot in the ass. He'll be even more vitriolic for the weeks to come but likely the peak of his support will disappear when his utterly non-conservative philosophies are exposed.
I would love to be in the meeting with the debate coaches of Bush or Huckabee or Paul or Rubio when that strategy is being discussed in the coming days. Incidentially we have been exposed to Trump's biggest weakness - his instant retaliation. Gosh I'd love to plant that trap in a rival's debate strategy. In the first 'debate answer' to whatever question, bait Trump out with a personal attack that he can't ignore. Make it a topic where we can be sure of HOW he will attack our candidate ie what particular accusation will be coming. And we know that is Trump's next comment. And as rebuttal, prepare something that just devastates him which is on-topic, smart, a perfect put-down, something exposiing Trump as a hypocrite and a liberal, to get the room to laugh at Trump... It would be awesome to plot such traps haha... gosh I miss my debate days at college three decades ago..
While the mobile industry (my normal day job) is now pretty boring the Trump show is giving us all a lot of entertainment. But I would sure hate to be a Republican politician up for election/re-election in 2016 suffering through Trump right about now (funk soul brother).