5 Reasons Donald Trump Headlining The First GOP Debate Is Good For Politics
Donald Trump knows how to hold an audience's attention. But the former reality TV personality may be in for a surprise when he enters Thursday night's Republican presidential debate. He can handle Dennis Rodman, Bret Michaels, and Piers Morgan, but can he take on a slew of experienced politicians who have a little more insight and (tactful) PR training? After all, his days of going on TV and yelling, "You're fired!" at anyone who disagrees with him are over (though we would like to see him try that on Gov. Chris Christie). Yet having Trump headlining the first GOP debate might be a good thing for politics — and even for his fellow candidates.
Trump currently has a 23.2 percent polling average, placing him more than 10 percentage points ahead of one-time frontrunner Jeb Bush, according to an analysis from Real Clear Politics. Fox News announced the candidates who made the cut for the prime time debate on Tuesday, setting up Trump and Bush to be on stage with Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and John Kasich. By entering the debate as the Republican leader, the business mogul will be the one who sets the tone. Here's five reasons we should look forward to it.
1. He'll Bring An Audience
This is undoubtedly the most anticipated presidential primary debate in recent history. Sure, 2012 brought the antics, with Rick Perry's "three things he would cut" and Michele Bachmann's hyperactive energy, and 2008's Democratic debate between now-President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton got a little heated. But if there's one thing Trump is good at, it's drawing an audience and keeping them tuned in to see what he says next. He usually says nothing of substance, but we all find ourselves waiting for his next move, don't we?
2. He'll Lift Up The Other Candidates
Trump, dear God, cannot be a serious contender to be president of the United States. The Republican Party knows that if Trump somehow wins the GOP ticket, there will be a Democrat in the White House in 2017. According to The New York Times, the Jeb Bush campaign is loving the Trump surge — they believe it will help them in the future. Bush, who remains in second place among the 17 GOP candidates, is looking to reassert himself as the frontrunner, but now the tables have turned. He will start to emerge as the "serious" Republican candidate, the opposite of Trump.
But the Bush campaign isn't the only one looking to capitalize on Trump's misgivings. Bush should also be looking out for Walker, Cruz, Rubio, and Christie. This debate will give these conservative players a chance to fix the image of their party, which is currently marred by Trump's racism and sexism. Will this be the time for the Republican Party to tactfully talk about serious immigration reform?
Also, it's really, really hard to look bad next to Donald Trump.
3. ... Or He'll Expose Them
The thing about Trump and the Republicans is that his views are completely within party lines. Christie's campaign tagline may be, "Telling it like it is," but that slogan is more apropos for Trump. He has the air of, "Hey, I'm just saying what's wrong with America," and it looks like much of conservative America agrees. Will Trump end up exposing some of these big-name politicians as hypocrites for openly disagreeing with him?
4. He'll Force The GOP To Double Down
Following the Senate's failure to defund Planned Parenthood on Monday, Trump went on a conservative radio show to say he would support shutting down the government over Planned Parenthood funding. Trump is hardly the only Republican candidate who feels this way; Trump gave Cruz a shout-out in the interview, seemingly trying to form an alliance with the Tea Party star.
This will shape up to be an interesting tactic. Cruz, who is staunchly anti-abortion and against birth control insurance coverage, is indeed leading the fight to defund Planned Parenthood. He can't disagree with Trump there — they're on the same page of the conservative handbook. It will be harder for Cruz and his fellow right-wing candidates to distance themselves from Trump when their policies are essentially the same, and in the end, Trump may force the GOP to double down on some of their anti-women, anti-gay, and anti-immigration policies.
5. Think Of The Drinking Games
Any time Trump says, "illegals"? Drink! "They're rapists"? Drink! Slanders another politician? Drink!