Anyone who lives in the real world knows that the only eyes that matter (voters) were on Donald Trump Tuesday night. Trump is the candidate currently earning 40% support in a 13 person race, the man most GOP primary voters believe has the best chance of beating rape-denier Hillary Clinton, the man who trounces all others when Republican voters are asked who is best suited to handle most of the most important issues of the day. Despite this painfully obvious fact…
In their post-debate analysis, our utterly useless, childish, and bubble-dumb media is once again focusing on all the wrong things: the squabbles, the one-liners, and the going-nowhere Lindsey Graham — who once again proved that the only way a Republican wins good press is by bashing his fellow Republicans as bigots. When the media takes a break from wiping away their Lindsey Tears Of Validation, they are pretending Jeb “Three-Percent” Bush showed some stuff.
This is the only thing that mattered last night…
Donald Trump is absolutely crushing the rest of the field, and last night he won the CNN debate. In my opinion, this is the first debate he has won, and for those of us in the 60%, those of us who are still slow-dancing with three or four of these guys to see who we want to take home, The Donald accomplished a number of crucially important things….
In the four previous debates, while he always earned points for style and presence (not a small deal), I’ve always felt that Trump exposed himself as weak on policy details and nuance. There is nothing wrong with being a Big Picture candidate, Ronald Reagan was a Big Picture candidate, and there is nothing wrong with never having held office before and not stepping into the spotlight as a wonk. You do, though, have to reassure voters that if you choose to be, you can be a wonk.
No one questions The Donald’s intelligence. You don’t build the company he did, you don’t outmaneuver the entire GOP field, and you don’t play the corrupt DC Media like a fiddle without having something upstairs. Nevertheless, displaying a grasp of policy tells the voters that you take their concerns and the job seriously.
In 2000, after the DC Media tried to disqualify him as a lightweight using the magic word “gravitas,” all George W. Bush had to do was correctly pronounce the names of some obscure world leaders and the word “gravitas” was never uttered again.
Obviously Trump is not yet familiar with the nuclear triad, but these moments from last night’s debate, which are being completely ignored by our clueless media, were very important to voters
TRUMP: Well, look, this is so easy to answer. ISIS is recruiting through the Internet. ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea. What I wanted to do is I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they’re doing. …
But we should be using our brilliant people, our most brilliant minds to figure a way that ISIS cannot use the Internet. And then on second, we should be able to penetrate the Internet and find out exactly where ISIS is and everything about ISIS. And we can do that if we use our good people. …
I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody. I sure as hell don’t want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our Internet. Yes, sir, I am.
Using America’s genius to remove the unfettered access to our young people that terrorists currently enjoy is brilliant. Like attacking the oil making ISIS rich and powerful, this is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking voters are looking for in a candidate. With these ideas, Trump validates those voters who believe an outsider is exactly what our country needs.
TRUMP: We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory.
It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.
That is going to be a very powerful message against Hillary Clinton, who backed the war in Iraq and is every bit as responsible as Obama for the Libya catastrophe.
TRUMP: I think Assad is a bad guy, a very bad guy, all right? Lots of people killed. I think we are backing people we have no idea who they are. The rebels, we call them the rebels, the patriotic rebels. We have no idea. A lot of people think, Hugh, that they are ISIS.
We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad. Assad is fighting ISIS. He is fighting ISIS. Russia is fighting now ISIS. And Iran is fighting ISIS.
We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t go — and I watched Lindsey Graham, he said, I have been here for 10 years fighting. Well, he will be there with that thinking for another 50 years. He won’t be able to solve the problem.
We have to get rid of ISIS first. After we get rid of ISIS, we’ll start thinking about it. But we can’t be fighting Assad. And when you’re fighting Assad, you are fighting Russia, you’re fighting — you’re fighting a lot of different groups.
But we can’t be fighting everybody at one time.
This answer above on Syria was far and away the best moment of the night for Trump, his best moment in any of the debates. Trump not only showed a firm grasp of the mess in Syria, he communicated it in terms we can all understand and at the same time gave voters an insight into his approach.
KEEPING AMERICA SAFE
Through his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration and to reinstate waterboarding, Trump is making the single most important statement any candidate could make after Paris and San Bernardino: I will do whatever it takes to keep this country safe.
Most importantly, that includes taking unprecedented hell for weeks from the media.
Voters see Trump alone in the arena taking flaming arrows as the rest of the Republican party runs away and hides. This is a brilliant strategy on Trump’s part, and in the form of a touchy-feely Facebook question, Trump was offered the gift of another opportunity to stress this point.
In response to a question about killing terrorists’ families, Trump said…
TRUMP: We have to be much tougher. We have to be much stronger than we’ve been. We have people that know what is going on. You take a look at just the attack in California the other day. There were numerous people, including the mother, that knew what was going on.
They saw a pipe bomb sitting all over the floor. They saw ammunition all over the place. They knew exactly what was going on. … I would be very, very firm with families. Frankly, that will make people think because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.
After seven horrible years of Barack Obama’s politically correct fecklessness, a fecklessness that has resulted in numerous terror attacks on American soil, whether or not you agree with Trump’s proposals, you know one thing for sure: He will do whatever is required to keep us safe.
Unlike the others, Trump doesn’t just express his love of country through platitudes, as the corrupt media attempts to annihilate him, Trump is proving he is willing to pay a brutal price to protect us.
Our stupid media is focusing on Trump’s proposals (Muslim ban, waterboarding, terrorist families) and missing completely the message Trump is sending. Because voters are smarter than the media, they are not.
TRUMP IS IMPROVING AS A CANDIDATE — BUT TRUMP IS STILL TRUMP
Last night, when Trump needed to be, Trump was statesmanlike:
HEWITT: My listeners tell me again and again they are worried that Hillary Clinton will win the White House because you’ll run as an independent. Are you ready to assure Republicans tonight that you will run as a Republican and abide by the decision of the Republicans?
TRUMP: I really am. I’ll be honest, I really am. … I’ve gained great respect for the Republican leadership. I’ve gained great respect for many — and I’m going to even say — I mean, in different forms for the people on the dais, in different forms. …
But I have great respect for the people I have met through this process. I’ve never done this process before. I’ve never been a politician. I mean, for the last six months I’ve been a politician.
But I will tell you, I am totally committed to the Republican Party. I feel very honored to be the front runner. And I think I’ll do very well if I’m chosen. If I’m so fortunate to be chosen, I think I’ll do very well.
Polls have come out recently saying I would beat Hillary. I will do everything in my power to beat Hillary Clinton, I promise you.
When Trump needed to, he slipped the media’s punches in a way that left co-moderator Dana Bash literally speechless:
BASH: Mr. Trump, just this weekend you said Senator Cruz is not qualified to be president because he doesn’t have the right temperament and acted like a maniac when he arrived in the Senate. But last month you said you were open to naming Senator Cruz as your running mate.
TRUMP: I did?
BASH: So why would you be willing to put somebody who’s a maniac one heartbeat away from the presidency?
TRUMP: Let me just say that I have gotten to know him over the last three or four days. He has a wonderful temperament. (LAUGHTER) He’s just fine. Don’t worry about it. (APPLAUSE)
And when Trump needed to be, Trump was Trump. He stuck it to co-moderator Hugh Hewitt in such a way that Hewitt, a very bright guy, sounded incoherent defending himself:
TRUMP: I think it’s very sad that CNN leads Jeb Bush, Governor Bush, down a road by starting off virtually all the questions, “Mr. Trump this, Mister” — I think it’s very sad. And, frankly, I watched — I think it’s very sad. And, frankly, I watched the first debate, and the first long number of questions were, “Mr. Trump said this, Mr. Trump said that. Mr. Trump” — these poor guys — although, I must tell you, Santorum, good guy. Governor Huckabee, good guy. They were very nice, and I respect them greatly. But I thought it was very unfair that virtually the entire early portion of the debate was Trump this, Trump that, in order to get ratings, I guess. In order to get ratings, I guess.
HEWITT: But, Mr. Trump, it’s not CNN — I was on CNN last night…
TRUMP: I just think it’s very — excuse me.
HEWITT: … watching…
TRUMP: Excuse me. I think it’s very unprofessional.
HEWITT: But it wasn’t — it wasn’t CNN. It was me. I watched you last night for 16 minutes. It’s not CNN.
TRUMP: Well, I think it’s very unprofessional.
HEWITT: It’s not CNN. It’s America’s watching you.
TRUMP: OK, fine.
HEWITT: It’s America’s watching.
While our stupid media is attempting to prop up Jeb and Graham this morning, my colleague Ben Shapiro, who also handed Trump the debate win, summed up the reality perfectly:
The exchange that mattered most to Trump came when Jeb said that Trump couldn’t insult his way to the presidency. Au contraire, said Trump: “I’m at 42 and you’re at 3. So far, I’m doing better.” Then he continued, pointing at the middle of the stage, “You started off over here, Jeb. You’re moving over further and further. Pretty soon you’re going to be off the end.”
That’ll leave a mark.
Trump might not yet be familiar with the nuclear triad, but he’s removed any doubt that he can learn, that he can and is improving as a candidate, and that underneath the “character” that got him this far, there is a statesman.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC