What If Fox News Succeeded Against Trump

Jonathan ChaitDonald Trump has dominated the early phase of the Republican campaign. The Republican Party needs to put an end to it. The question going into the first debate was which candidate would take it upon himself to take down Trump. The answer is that none of them did. Fox News did the work itself, a division of labor that made sense for both sides. The candidates could refrain from alienating the Donald’s loyalists; and the moderators, who don’t need Iowans to tromp through the snow for them, can peel the bark off him. The Fox News moderators brutalized Trump with questions about his partisan loyalty he could not answer because there is no answer. Trump is in this race for himself, not for the party…

That is why the significance of his performance lies in his deadly serious threat to run a third-party campaign, siphoning off the immigrant-haters and amorphously angry blue-collar whites the actual nominee will need for himself. The intense barrage of pointed questions displayed how seriously Roger Ailes takes Trump’s threat to hijack the GOP for his own end. It failed to reckon with the other threat: that the Republican plan to drive Trump from their party might instead work all too well.

—Jonathan Chait
Donald Trump vs the Republican Party: Now It’s War

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