The Morning Briefing: After 2 GOP Debates, Trump's Sabotage Is Almost Complete

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Top O’ the Briefing

Happy Thursday, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing friends. Haggaria was intent on making tie-dyed culottes the official tournament wear of her Jenga and Jell-O club.


I like to take a different approach to my primary debate analysis that will make some of you reject everything I write, and others think that I am the sanest man in the room for doing it this way. Rather than watch and concentrate on the debates, I prefer to monitor the people watching it.

My friend Stephen Green does his famous VodkaPundit Drunkblog for every one of these things, and it’s always more fun paying attention to that than the debate itself. In addition to live tweeting the debates (much of which is shared on the Drunkblog), my colleagues keep a lively back-channel discussion going on Slack. Then there’s Twitter/X itself, where the reaction of conservatives provides a wealth of information about how the debates are actually going.

I do, of course, watch some clips from each debate. Then I judge.

What I concluded after last night was that some of that oft-joked about Trump 4-D chess may be happening here.

Once again, a GOP primary debate was designed to be an ongoing game of “Gotcha!” These dog-and-pony shows have never been designed to highlight differences between the candidates regarding issues that matter to Republican voters, and they seem to be getting worse. The questions are awful, and many seem as if they were scripted by the DNC, even when Fox News hosts the debate.

Fox News has historically been awful at these things. It’s as if the FNC moderators are determined to pretend to be MSNBC Lite in an effort to prove that they don’t actually lean right.

As for the FNC cohost — Univision had ZERO business being at a Republican primary debate. There was absolutely nothing to be gained by including a hostile network.


(Just as I was about to publish the Briefing, Paula posted her column on the utter awfulness of Fox News at the debate.)

The big question then is: Why is the GOP still letting this crap happen?

Let’s look at that. This is all GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s doing. The woman with perhaps the worst track record of any GOP chair in history. The party has hemorrhaged governorships and seats in Congress since she’s been in charge.

Who was her most prominent supporter when she was running for a fourth term after presiding over three elections that were unmitigated disasters for the GOP?

Oh yeah, Donald Trump.

At this point, I’m beginning to think that this is all by design. Trump and McDaniel struck a deal: he’d help her reelection bid; she’d set up some of the worst debates in GOP primary history and he’d avoid them. Yes, I believe that he would be opting out even if he didn’t have a big lead in the polls.

This way, the other candidates can endure the pontificating and inane questions from the moderators, none of which will make them look good, and Trump can hit the tanning bed, unscathed.

As conspiracy theories go, this one has merit.

It’s also the only way to make sense of this debate mess without coming to the conclusion that Ronna McDaniel is just ignorant and incompetent.

OK, that theory does have merit too.

Those are my thoughts. We’ll finish with some of VodkaPundit’s Drunkblog thoughts at the end of the debate:

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