The headline might sound odd at first, until you realize the debate audience was so over-the-top part of the establishment GOPe, even the willfully blind pundits couldn’t ignore it.
We knew the South Carolina audience was going to be structured by the RNC to be mostly entrenched Brooks Brothers republicans in favor of Marco Rubio. The same general sensibility was evident in the North Charleston FNB debate.
However, what no-one could expect was how the desperation of the donor and cocktail class would cause them to lose any semblance of objectivity and instead launch into a full-throated screaming session on behalf of Senator Rubio, and to a slightly lesser extent Jeb Bush.
The GOP audience reflected one of the long-time republican truisms: the donor class is completely, intentionally and insufferably, disconnected from the general electorate.
The best thing Donald Trump might do next time is pay for an hour of “open bar” just prior to the debate beginning. The RNC can then provide goodie bags of squirt guns, nerf darts, and rubber bands for all audience members.
Don’t fight the bias, enhance it, more Trumpet equals more sunlight. Allow the chattering class to fully embarrass themselves even further. Their behavior helps the insurgency.
Despite the overwhelming odds, and positioned as the dominating fighter he is, Candidate Donald Trump stood on the debate stage and wielded the atomic battle axe against all of their collective antagonisms. Counting the stage crew it was roughly 1,905 to 1.
When the elephant dust settled, Trump emerged – yet again, victorious.
This about sums it up:
I am not a Trump supporter but that was a bloodbath. He tied that whole stage and audience into a package and stamped “Washington Bulls–t” on it. Then he set it on fire and walked off.
Another summary via Twitter:
Tonight, Trump poured gasoline on 30 years of neocon foreign policy thinking and lit the match. It was beautiful.
Or this one:
Trump was just Trump tonight — the lone guy fighting all Establishment comers, including that obnoxious audience.
Some good, lots of bad from the candidates tonight. But nothing worse than the obnoxious audience. That was embarrassing.
When the RNC and GOPe strategy is that brutally obvious, well, the negative outcome they hoped to achieve becomes diminished. Actually, quite the opposite result occurs.
As noted above, the viewing audience begins to stop focusing on the substance, and instead appreciates the strength of the candidate who remains in the arena against overwhelming odds. The intent of the attack backfires. Their goal to create a perception of policy weakness is replaced by an actual appreciation of the candidates fortitude.
As to substance of the debate itself, the guy getting hit from all directions is the only guy standing up for the middle class.
Not another candidate mentioned anything about saving American Jobs from being outsourced to China or Mexico, and when the moderator tried to turn it into an example of dictatorial tendencies – Trump dismisses the charge by stating he would warn the fleeing company of his intent to work with congress to tariff their products upon import.
Candidate Donald Trump putting his focus on protecting the U.S. worker, regardless of opinion of him. Solidifying his position as their champion. Never before has a candidate railed against the entire system with such intensity, there’s not a doubt in the viewers mind he would not concede an inch in his defense of their economic position.
Again, exactly the blue collar billionaire people are looking for to protect them from the vulture economics of Wall Street. Mr. Trump is 100% Main Street and he means it when he says he will not stop fighting. Openly stating his intent to do so against 1,905:1 odds is a visible representation of the severity of his promise.
Trump is definitely not a politician – He’s us. That’s the message received.
Getting booed by a stacked crowd of special interest groups is a positive for the rest of us… The American people
And when you are supporting a candidate willing to put themselves into such a hostile environment on your behalf, you betcha people will get off their asses and into the voting booth to support him. It’s the least they can do.
Don’t get me wrong, as much as Trump was successful swinging the linguistic battle axe, the circling hyena’s were equally improved in their collective attack. Rubio, Jeb and Cruz each taking turns thrusting forward and snapping their teeth.
Cruz, Rubio and Bush certainly mounted a far more coordinated attack against Trump than in prior debates. However, the rabidity and nastiness, while it might make the auditorium audience giddy with joy, loud shouts and “kill-the-witch” group-think, looks intensely mean-spirited from a TV distance.
Their approach allowed Trump enormously forgiving latitude in how he responded.
Donald Trump as crowd boos him: “I only tell the truth, lobbyists.”
[I]f the audience is pro-Lindsey Graham that REALLY tells you something. Graham was only polling 4% in South Carolina, his home state.
The saddest, well, perhaps the most enlightening part to the entire debate – is how the punditry class, the GOPe machine and the attacking candidates themselves are so not self-aware, they actually think they did a great job.
Their collective response reminds us of that moment just before the voting in New Hampshire when the professional chattering class were interviewed and they said they didn’t know a single Trump supporter.
The New Hampshire GOP leadership quoted: “they have never encountered a single Trump supporter in their daily lives”.
Think about that carefully.
Let that sink in.
Because that same mindset, those exact same people – albeit 500 miles south, will now tell themselves, their families, their friends and their audience, they don’t know a single South Carolina voter who saw Donald Trump win that debate.