TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Jessica Mackler, President, American Bridge 21st Century
RE: The GOP Establishment Favorite Won’t Be On Stage, But His Presence Will Be Felt
DATE: January 28, 2016
It’s a little dated — yes, The Apprentice is no longer on the air — but we’ll nonetheless offer up this March 2013 tweet from Donald Trump as advice for tonight’s GOP debaters:
The candidates on stage tonight can make fun of Trump for being “too afraid” to debate, but here’s the thing: Even as they mock him, it’s clear they’ve been “checking out his tweets.” Cruz, Rubio, and the rest, will be doing their best to channel Trump’s right-wing demagoguery, his extreme positions, and his doom-and-gloom rhetoric.
And here’s the real kicker — this is what should really have the motley crew of Trump stand-ins panicking: Even as they duke it out on stage tonight, the GOP establishment is lining up behind Trump. More than ever, Trump — polling at 36.2% nationally — is running the show.
Donald Trump’s ramping up the crazy — mocking protesters for wearing turbans and “joking” about shooting people — but Republican establishment leaders are nonetheless coming around to his candidacy. RNC chair Reince Priebus has had Trump’s back for months, calling him a “positive” force and a “varsity” candidate. But the RNC just took its Trump love to a whole new level by dropping National Review as a debate partner, because the RNC felt the outlet’s anti-Trump coverage should preclude its participation. And it isn’t just the RNC. Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin Hatch said he’s “come around” to Trump. Senator Chuck Grassley introduced Trump at an Iowa rally this weekend. And even Newt Gingrich is getting on board the Trump Train.
And here’s one last thing to keep in mind: Every candidate on stage remains pledged to support Donald J. Trump as the party’s nominee — and that includes Senate candidate and inexplicable main stage debate-qualifier Rand Paul and our four hapless undercard debaters.
All that aside, here’s a taste of what you can expect tonight:
- Trump-level xenophobic demagoguery, with right-wing policy proposals to match the rhetoric;
- Trump-esque name-calling and end-of-days fear-mongering;
- Trump-inspired amateurish and unsophisticated foreign policy proposals;
- The touting of tax plans that disproportionately benefit the top 1% of income-earners;
- Lies about Planned Parenthood and promises to restrict women’s health care funding and options;
- Promises to fundamentally alter — and threaten — seniors and future seniors’ earned benefits; and,
- Pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and threaten millions of Americans access to quality, affordable health care.
Published: Jan 28, 2016