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About That Poll

So we've got our first poll. And it looks like GOP party leaders and a lot of pundits are in for a bit of a surprise since at least as of yesterday Donald Trump appears to have paid zero price for his performance at the GOP debate or for his continuing antics in the two days after.

As you have probably seen, I've already outlined my argument for why this would be so here and here.

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Is Trump Done? No.

Over the weekend, we've seen a growing consensus that Donald Trump has finally done it: gone too far and killed his rising campaign for the Republican nomination. Ezra Klein and Nate Silver argue that Trump has finally picked a fight he cannot win for a very simple reason: So far Trump has built himself up by attacking "elites" and institutions base Republicans don't trust and feel grievances against. But now he's picked Fox News, which polls show and as Ezra and Nate note, Republicans trust in very high numbers. He can't win a battle over fairness with an institution base Republicans trust more than anyone else.

I don't agree. This is all too literal.

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Josh Doubles Down on Trump

In the dozen hours since the end of last night's Republican debate, I've seen a lot of people with very different takes on who did well and how the debate shook out. Nate Cohn has a very sophisticated take at the Times which looks at the very different audiences for debates - particularly the difference between the crowd and the immediate response from viewers and the more complex battle for buy-in from party elites. All good points. He thinks Rubio, Walker, and Kasich were strong and Trump and Bush did poorly. A lot of my shrewder friends think Rubio did well, too.

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I Bow Down To This Dude and You Should Too

Todd Courser (R) is a high-flying, freshman tea party patriot in the Michigan state legislature. On the way to reforming government, he started sleeping with fellow tea partier newcomer Cindy Gamrat (R). And in an innovation that puts all Silicon Valley 'disruption' to shame, he decided to concoct a fake gay sex scandal about himself, on the reasoning that when the gay sex scandal fell apart and got discredited that his adulterous freedom affair with Gamrat would seem "mild by comparison."

Debate Summary

Foxbots to Trump: Are you not a fraud, a cretin and a scoundrel.

Trump: I'm very rich. Fuck yourself. I have no time for your nonsense.

Crowd: Cheers wildly.

GOP Debate Sum Up

On balance, I think this debate went about as we'd expected. Donald Trump dominated the debate. Even when he wasn't talking. Fox took it upon itself to go after him hard. But mainly they didn't land a punch. With one key exception (when and how he became a Republican), Trump managed to parry pretty much all the questions sent his way, despite most answers totally lacking any substance, lacking any logical coherence, or in most cases not even addressing the questions. Perhaps I'll be wrong. But I don't think his refusal to pledge not to run as an independent will hurt him. He didn't equivocate. He just said it. More than anything, he knows his audience.

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Clown Car in the Trainwreck Blogging

10:09 PM: Always interesting to see Huck somewhat pivoting against his opponents. Also, was he saying he's going to get the pimps and prostitutes to pay taxes?

10:11 PM: I'm really not sure Chris Wallace wins this. We're supposed to feel bad that people who invested in one of Trump's companies lost their money when the business failed?

10:13 PM: I'd like to thank Time Warner Cable and their amazingly bad cable TV service for making it hard for the staff here to watch the debate for the last few minutes. I would like Donald Trump to buy TWC so he can drive it into bankruptcy so maybe we can get service from a different company.

10:28 PM: Okay, I think the last part of Trump's answer about when he became a Republican was his first sour note. The abortion answer was reasonably okay as ridiculous answers go. But the 'when I became a Republican' answer was almost incomprehensible. I became a Republican because the last few months of W's administration was terrible so I became a Republican? What?

10:30 PM: Again, Kasich just too normal a person to be on this stage.

10:40 PM: Frightening the amount of ignorance and nonsense coming from Ben Carson. Smallest Navy since 1917? As President Obama once said, there are these things called Aircraft Carrier Groups.

10:43 PM: Listening to these jokers talk about military and security policy is sobering as I get more pessimistic about the Democrats' chances in 2016.

10:54 PM: Consensus Republican answer: God speaks to me all the time. But in fairly conventional ways.