THE NUMBERS ARE IN: The Republican debate on Thursday went off without a hitch despite the loss of its biggest tabloid star, Donald “The Situation” Trump. Despite Trump’s trash talking the match-up between the debate and his phony veterans charade, he not only failed to outperform the debate, he didn’t even draw a quarter of the viewers that watched the debate.
The audience for the debate was about 12.5 million. So it outdrew the last GOP debate which pulled in 11 million on the Fox Business Channel. The audience for the GOP debates has been understandably declining with each event. They began with a bang last August registering 24 million, then dropped to 22, 14, 13, spiked to 18 on CNN, then settled back to 11 million. So it is to be expected that the audience would continue to shrink, especially without The Donald. The novelty wears off as the election season progresses. However, surprisingly, it went up a bit.
That by itself would be enough evidence that Trump’s tantrum was a failure. But it gets worse. The audience for his cynical and insulting exploitation of veterans as political props was markedly lower. CNN drew only 1.7 million viewers, and MSNBC had just over one million. So the debate’s audience was four times greater than the combined audience on the other news networks. What’s more, the other networks only aired a small portion of Trump’s event (about fifteen minutes at the beginning and sporadic cut-ins later), so his propaganda didn’t get nearly the coverage that he hoped.
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Undoubtedly, Trump will declare victory because reality isn’t relevant in his world, or that of his glassy-eyed disciples. But the truth is that he failed to make an impact by ditching the GOP affair. He proved that the networks don’t need to pander to him and that they won’t be hurt if he gets huffy and bails. That’s probably something that he wishes he didn’t make known. And the image of him as whining wimp who is afraid to face a few journalists along with his party peers will endure.