If Trump Skips the Fox Debate, That’s Fine! We Can Watch the Adults in Action

 If Trump Skips the Fox Debate, That’s Fine! We Can Watch the Adults in Action

AP Photo/Josh Reynolds

The extensive list of contenders for the GOP’s presidential nomination is struggling to make headway and catch up to the powerful frontrunner, Donald Trump. Interestingly, Trump himself is also not having an easy ride in the race, positioning himself as if he is an incumbent president vying for re-nomination.

Despite modern political precedent suggesting that an incumbent president doesn’t need to actively campaign or even acknowledge challengers in debates, voters expect to see their candidate earn their support. Trump cannot rely on his presidential record alone and must actively campaign and participate in debates. This is not a foregone conclusion; it’s a competition.

It’s possible that Trump’s “campaign” is primarily about maintaining public attention and generating funds, with the secondary goal of winning. Despite his proclaimed focus on winning, he has faced numerous losses, including the 2018 midterms, multiple questionable staff appointments, the 2020 general election, and ill-advised endorsements in the 2022 midterms.

Trump’s campaign strategies have been less than effective, with early announcements failing to deter challengers, limited campaign events, missed major candidate appearances, and growing legal troubles. These legal indictments are viewed by Trump and his supporters as badges of honor. However, potential voters may be looking for less controversial alternatives.

Public opinion reflects a level of unease about Trump’s circumstances, and the media will undoubtedly seize upon every minute detail of his legal battles. Despite the damaging potential of these proceedings, Trump’s larger-than-life persona is a boon for the media industry, reported Redstate.

In the absence of Trump, mainstream media has suffered internal strife and declining ratings, making Trump’s attention-drawing antics all the more valuable. However, this does not mean such drama is beneficial for the country as a whole.

If we were to judge Trump’s position by the incumbent standards he seeks, he is lagging in a primary following his first term. Despite being out of office for more than two years, he leads his closest competitor, Ron DeSantis, by 32 points in an average of polls. Yet, he falls short of the 62 percent support George W. Bush had in his re-nomination contest, showing the divide within the GOP over Trump’s candidacy.

Despite the early media focus on Trump and his legal troubles, it’s crucial that voters do their own research and scrutinize the policies and personalities of the candidates. The first national GOP debate on August 23 will present an opportunity for voters to see the candidates in action, while Trump’s decision on whether to attend or not will surely draw more media attention.

Ultimately, the candidates who prove themselves as composed, substantial, and forward-thinking alternatives to Trump may gain ground. For those in the political sphere, the thrill of performing under pressure is a defining aspect of the profession, and it’s what we want from our leaders. The upcoming debate will be an opportunity to see which candidate can truly stand up to the challenge.

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