Countdown to First Republican Primary Debate (VIDEO)

We political junkies are counting down the days until the first Republican primary debate — and be still my heart, it’s almost here! In case you haven’t marked your calendar yet, the debate will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at 9 p.m. ET. It’s being sponsored by Fox News, Young America’s Foundation, and Rumble, and the moderators will be Fox’s Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. The event will be held in the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisc. — an important battleground state.

Former President Donald Trump has so far rejected the idea of participating in any primary debates, and really, why should he? “Ronald Reagan didn’t do it and a lot of other people didn’t do it. When you have a big lead, you don’t do it,” Trump observed a couple of weeks ago on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

His logic is hard to argue with. “We have a lead of 50 and 60 points in some cases. … You’re leading people by 50 and 60 points, you say why would you be doing a debate? It’s actually not fair. Why would you let somebody that’s at zero or one or two or three be popping you with questions?” What would Trump have to gain from participating?

But then again, we’re dealing with Donald Trump here. Well into his seventies, the man remains indefatigable. Not only that, he is an apex extrovert who draws energy from public acclaim like The Highlander vanquishing a rival.

So while Trump has more to lose than to gain from participating alongside the polling midgets in the primary debate, the thought of millions of people watching them on that stage and not him is probably anathema to him. And that FOMO may ultimately induce him to join the debate.

Kellyanne Conway, who managed Trump’s successful 2016 campaign, told Fox News’s Martha MacCallum last week that she had discussed the possibility with Trump.

I discussed it with him. I will tell you this: on the one hand, he’s acting like a front-runner — he’s way ahead, what does he have to gain by going? On the other hand, that’s a natural habitat for him. It helped him in that first Fox News debate on August 6, 2015, in Cleveland, Martha. He got centerstage, he never lost it, became the nominee, and indeed the president.

Also, I think President Trump will keep everybody in suspense. And if I were you, I’d keep that center podium warm. … The day of, you just never know. I think there’ll be people watching the tarmac in […] Morris County airport out there.

“I think that’s probably just the way he wants it,” replied MacCallum. “I hope he goes, too. I think it’s gonna be a great night. Very exciting.” It certainly will be for her, one of the moderators.

On Saturday, reports the New York Post, Trump polled the crowd at his campaign rally, to see if he should attend the debate:

Former President Donald Trump took an impromptu poll from a rally crowd in Pennsylvania Saturday on whether he should participate in the GOP primary debates, the first of which is scheduled for next month.

Trump got a mixed reaction as he weighed the political benefits of putting himself on the stage with “hostile” opponents against the sheer entertainment value of doing so.

“Am I going to stand up there with [candidates who are] zero, one, two, three percent, maybe four [in the polls] … and have them ask me hostile questions?” he asked the Erie crowd. “And if I don’t go to the debate … they say that ratings are going to be really bad.”

“But now put on your political cap, right? We have to save our country. We have to win. Should I get up there with 10 or 12 hostile people and a hostile network and be abused with terrible accusations?” he continued.

“We’ll see what happens; I haven’t made a commitment one way or the other. Should I do them or not?” he asked.

The 45th president then asked his supporters to cheer yes or no for whether he should do the debates to an audibly split reaction.

“You people just want entertainment,” Trump said, smirking.

The other six Republican candidates who have so far achieved the polling and fundraising requirements to participate in the debates are Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Chris Christie (lol), and Doug Burgum. Trump’s former Vice President, Mike Pence, has notably not made the cut as of this writing.

via magatribute

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