Monday, October 10, 2016

Going into the debate -- will he or won't he?

I'm writing this is the last few hours before the debate begins on Sunday night.  No fictional drama could have created such suspense and uncertainty about what will happen.   And it depends almost totally on one person, Donald Trump.

With his campaign reeling from the outrage, disgust, and defections from Republican insiders and those running for office;   with uncertainly even whether Mike Pence is going to abandon the ticket (he cancelled all campaign appearances for the next 48 hours);   with the RNC putting on hold all projects having to do with Trump's campaign;   with (denied) rumors even that campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is going to quit;  with calls from many top Republicans for Trump to withdraw from the race;  and with the loose cannon that is Trump himself -- all of that looms over the 90 minutes in St. Louis.

Some are saying that the only thing that can save the Trump's campaign is for him to offer what can be taken as a sincere, contrite apology for his behavior (and not just the tape, but the Kahn family and others he has insulted) -- and then to present a coherent program of economic initiative with details that show he knows what he's talking about.

If he can't do that, then the RNC will likely leave him nominally on the ticket, but withdraw all support from his campaign  -- and he has no campaign organization of his own that can take over.   The RNC would then turn its attention solely to the down ballot races, hoping to salvage those congressional and state races.

This all hinges on whether Trump can hold it together.   Signs of his mood today, his tweets, are not promising.   He seems in denial of how strongly Republicans are turning against him.   His base is remaining loyal to him, but that is not enough to win the election for him.  And he seems very angry at the Republicans who are withdrawing their support.   If he lashes out at them during the debate and, as some are predicting, "goes nuclear" on the stage -- then it's all over.

Now let's watch to see what happens.    And try to analyze it tomorrow.


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