Save us from Ourselves: Donald Trump to Moderate GOP Debate
In case you haven't heard yet, Newsmax has announced today that Donald Trump will be moderating the December 27 GOP presidential debate in Des Moines. This is astonishingly foolish.
Trump's participation offers no tangible benefit for Republican voters. This is the man, remember, who lusted over universal health care and wants a full-scale trade war with China, so it's not as if he's representing the intellectual impulses of the right. He's also the most prominent public face of birtherism, so including him in the proceedings elevates gutter populism of the worst sort at exactly the moment that the broader public will be tuning in to learn what the GOP field is all about.
Worst of all is that this debate will take place in the holiday week between Christmas and New Year's. While that may translate to lower ratings for the live broadcast of the debate, it also means that the clips will likely be circulating for days in the midst of a slow news week. This will diminish every one of the candidates and the broader Republican Party. And it will benefit Trump, an unrepentant pimp, who will use this stage as he does all stages -- as a platform for a prolonged infomercial.
Most of these presidential candidates have spent the past several months telling us that this is one of the most important elections of our lifetimes. It's time to start acting like it. For this one moment, the field needs to band together and work as one. And they need to tell Newsmax, "Either Trump doesn't show up or we don't show up."