Trump the King of the Hill Following Debate – Donald Trump emerged from the second Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as the clear winner even though he opted not to participate.
The latest debate resembled the childhood game King of the Hill in which opponents try to knock the guy on top off his pedestal. Polling suggested that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis performed the best in the debate among the candidates, yet it was for naught in the polls. Trump remained untouched.
No one came even close. Trump’s lock on the GOP electorate remains solid and is further solidifying. A full 63% of Republican voters now say they support Trump for the Republican nomination, a Morning Consult poll finds.
GOP Rivals Unable to Close the Gap
GOP donors who had hoped they could stop Trump now admit the task is all but hopeless. DeSantis now stands at 13.5% in the polls according to Five Thirty Eight. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is almost tied with businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 6.5% and 6.6% respectively.
Trump’s absence was felt in the debate as his rivals criticized him for refusing to participate.
“Donald Trump is missing in action,” DeSantis said. “He should be on this stage tonight.”
New Jersey Gov. Chirs Christie similarly nailed Trump for avoiding the debate.
‘You’re ducking these things, and let me tell you what’s going to happen,” Christie said. “You keep doing that, no one up here is going to call you Donald Trump anymore. We’re going to call you Donald Duck.”
Donald Trump’s Teflon Holds Fast
Reagan famously was called “The Teflon President” because nothing would stick to him. Similarly, Trump has become a Teflon candidate. His indictments and legal cases have made him into a political martyr.
He has come to embody the cliché, “Martyrs cannot be silenced.”
“… MAGA resentment towards prosecutors who they feel are persecuting their hero have given Trump a massive lead nationally in the race for his party’s nomination. The former president also has big leads in the early GOP contests in Iowa and New Hampshire with only a few months to go,” columnist Brad Bannon writes in The Messenger. “The Wednesday night GOP presidential debate — which looked more like a GOP vice presidential debate, considering Trump’s lead —was a hollow event since the frontrunner was again conspicuously absent. Was the debate anything more than an audition for the number two spot on the Trump ticket or for a cabinet post?”
Bannon continued arguing it would take a miracle to keep Trump from winning the GOP nomination.
“Trump’s legal jeopardy concerns GOP insiders and the general public — but, so far, not people who vote in Republican primaries,” Bannon said.
Biden Vulnerable to Donald Trump
Voters look at Joe Biden, who has been a fixture in Washington for 50 years, and see someone who has been corrupted by power. His looming impeachment inquiry could increase scrutiny over how he used his office to enrich himself and family, and potentially damaged national security.
Biden’s age an unpopularity could open the door for another Trump presidency.
“Yet, while Trump has shattered every ritual in politics, one convention might hold firm. Reelection races typically unfold as a referendum on the previous four years under the incumbent. Biden will not just be judged by comparison to Trump – as he was four years ago with the country staggering through a pandemic,” CNN Political Analyst Stephen Collinson writes. “His own record will be on the ballot this time. Unless he can raise that 39% approval rating by 10 points, he will be in trouble. If there’s a GOP upset and some other candidate besides Trump wins the nomination, Biden could be even more exposed.”
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting. He writes opinion articles from a conservative perspective.