Actually there will be two debates tonight. The first will take place much like an undercard for a prize fight. There are seven candidates that haven't polled high enough or paid off the right people at Fox to appear on the main stage. Amoung this group is a former governor of the State of Virginia who has so far raised exactly $193,000 for his campaign, Jim Gilmore. But there he will be, along side people like Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry. There isn't enough money in the world.....
Much of the focus tonight (along with 90% of the oxygen) will be taken up by Donald Trump, the current front runner and the bane of the political establishment. He and his hair will be at the center of the stage. Regular readers of this blog are aware that I have been highly critical of his Donaldness, sometimes viciously so. There's a reason for that...I've always despised his shtick, so I'm not exactly objective. But watching his candidacy giving the vapors to every member of the establishment punditry class has, I must confess, been delicious fun. I'm starting to understand his appeal, and oddly enough it's very similar to the boomlet of support being experienced by Democrat Bernie Sanders. I will attempt an explanation.
Americans of all political persuasions are tired of timidity. We are fed up with weasels. The carefully crafted, poll-tested sentences that spill forth from our politicians has reached a critical mass which has made them like fingernails on a blackboard. Largely we have brought this on ourselves. Politicians fear telling us the truth in part because they know we can't handle it. Instead we have spent the better part of thirty years sending conflicting messages to them, asking them to at once lower our taxes AND provide us with more stuff. The biggest long term problem we face as a nation is the unsustainability of Social Security, but that topic is called the third rail of American politics for good reason. So, nothing ever gets done, making the problem ultimately harder to fix. But here comes Trump and Sanders. Neither of them feels that they are owed the presidency, and neither of them, in their heart of hearts, believe they will become President. So, they are free to tell us what they think, not what some Madison Avenue polling firm tells them we want to hear. Sanders, in particular, has the courage of his convictions, and as such, is the perfect foil for Hillary Clinton who is desperately trying to figure out what her convictions are. Trump, on the other hand, has the conviction that on his worse day he could do a better job of running the country than the professional butt-kissers who will be standing on the stage around him tonight. He has the added advantage of being able to tell all the big donor types to take a hike. As he is always reminding us, he's got plenty of his own money, and therefore will enter the White House in debt to no one, especially the Koch brothers.
So what will happen tonight? I have no idea except for this...at the end of the thing, every analyst on MSNBC will be proclaiming Hillary Clinton the big winner, and most of them on FOX will be pointing out all the mistakes made by Trump. And on Friday morning, the Donald's poll numbers will have...improved!