Trump’s #GOPDebate Boycott: Is He Afraid of Ted Cruz?

Trump’s #GOPDebate Boycott: Is He Afraid of Ted Cruz?

Trump’s #GOPDebate Boycott: Is He Afraid of Ted Cruz?

Yesterday, I opined about the threats coming from the Trump campaign that the frontrunner would boycott Thursday’s debate over his one-sided feud with Fox News journalist, Megyn Kelly. You can read more about that here. Well, after a typical social media hissy fit, and following Fox’s assertion that The Donald’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, issued veiled threats targeting Kelly last weekend, Trump announced he would not be attending the last debate just days before the Iowa caucuses. But is it little ‘ol Megyn Kelly he’s scared of as so many people, myself included, have suggested? Well, before I answer that question, let’s jump on board the (not so) Wayback Machine: This happened following Fox Business’ GOP debate a couple of weeks ago:

Yeah. Nearly unanimous consensus. Even from would-be Trump supporters. Why? Well, here’s one reason:

Ouch. That left a mark.

So Ben Shapiro over at the Daily Wire has an excellent analysis of what he believes is going on. In short: One theory is that Trump is afraid of Ted Cruz.

Photo Credit: Fox Business
Photo Credit: Fox Business

Trump obviously believes his consistent poll lead more than questions about possible ground game in Iowa, and he’s concerned that another debate with his chief rival, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), could end with him in shambles. He’s not particularly scared of Megyn Kelly or Fox News – after all, he can employ his tried-and-true “whine until I win” strategy, which worked wonders in the aftermath of the first Republican debate, in which he claimed victimization at Kelly’s hands. He’s more worried that Cruz will ask him tough questions about his background and his conservatism just days ahead of the Iowa caucuses, with 46 percent of the Iowa electorate still undecided. That’s why he has ignored Cruz’s offer for a one-on-one, moderator-free 90-minute debate.

He goes on:

Second, Trump could hope that Fox News takes his bait and attacks him, allowing him to play the victim; he could hope that the debate turns into a Trump bash-fest, allowing him to play the victim. That tactic has worked well for him thus far, and Fox News seems inclined to play up the feud with Trump as personal, obscuring the fact that Trump is actually ducking the other candidates, not Megyn Kelly.

Third, Trump could count on the other candidates ignoring him during the debate and savaging one another. If Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tears down Trump’s chief rival, Cruz, Trump could walk away with an Iowa victory simply by riding out the storm. And with attack-attack-attack candidate Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on the stage, that isn’t implausible.

And lastly:

Finally, Trump could lose Iowa, and then claim that he only lost Iowa because of media bias that forced him to stay out of the debate. This probably wouldn’t stifle concerns, but it would play to his base – and he’s still up by nearly 20 points in the second primary state, New Hampshire. A narrow loss in Iowa plus a victim-playing routine over Fox News could allow him to save face for New Hampshire.

You can read the entire article here:

Meanwhile, here’s Cruz calling his bluff, issuing a public invitation to Mr. Trump to debate him, one on one, ceding Trump the advantage of naming the moderator of his choice:

Photo Credit: Mashable
Photo Credit: Mashable

I vote an enthusiastic “Yes!” But I won’t hold my breath waiting for The Donald to accept. Because methinks Shapiro is right: It’s not about a feud with Megyn Kelly. Or even with Fox. That’s just a convenient excuse. He’s been on various Fox shows over a hundred times, and given plenty of free ad space to get his message out, ad nauseam, unencumbered. He’s been treated more than fairly. And I’d argue, he’s received more than his rightful share of allotted time. But what he hasn’t done is engage in an informal bro-chat with his former flame, Ted Cruz.

He’s also a hypocrite:

Donald J. Trump
Donald J. Trump – Verified account @realDonaldTrump

Michele Bachmann just dropped out of prez race— when she didn’t do the Newsmax debate it showed great disloyalty and people rejected her.
11:03 AM – 4 Jan 2012

Times two:

Now we keep hearing comparisons to how Reagan opted out of his last debate before the Iowa caucuses. And yes, that’s true. Like Trump, the establishment deplored him. But Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan. Reagan will always be remembered as one of history’s most articulate, gifted, persuasive orators. He didn’t need to rely on cheap parlor tricks to hoodwink the electorate. He was a proven conservative, and a strong leader, the very “outsider” many of us are looking for today. Trump is none of that. Rather, he’s a name-calling progressive populist, with a long history of liberalism, riding on the coattails of those who’ve fought in the trenches against progressivism for decades, and attempting to usurp their hard work. He’s a salesman; it’s what he does. And, yes, he’s good at it. But an effective salesman does not a successful president make. And Ted Cruz (and Rand Paul, for that matter) has him pegged dead to rights. This latest Trumper Tantrum is little more than another egomaniacal ploy to garner attention away from the other candidates. I’m not sure it’ll work this time. Because from where I’m sitting, he looks weak and afraid. And you can bet the tyrants of the world are taking note. And so is Hillary Clinton.

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