Like many Americans, I didn't watch the first Republican candidate presidential debate. To paraphrase a certain notable Democrat, “at this point in time, what difference could it make?”. Seriously, for those paying attention, we know who we like and who we don't. For the undecided, I doubted there was much they could say that would make a difference.
Besides, I reside in Virginia, a pivotal state for the actual election. Even with that, the way the primary game is played, the people of Virginia will have virtually no say in who will eventually be on the Republican ticket. By the time we have our primary election, the die will be cast. How do I know that? Not a single candidate has deigned to visit our great state to campaign. In fact, I’d venture to say they have not even set up campaign offices in our state. After all, why spend money where it doesn't matter – at least not for now. Is my bitterness over this showing through – damn right!
That being said something notable happened in that debate. I though, 'hey, as long as I am going to start writing again, I might as well write about that.' So I am. At this point everyone knows the notable thing that happened. Forest of virtual trees have been harvested and beaten into bits so the Internets pundits could pontificate on the happening. So I’ll rake over it one more time to freshen your memory.
Apparently the candidates were asked to raise their hands to indicate that if they did not win the nomination, they would not run as an independent. Now first lets consider the question a little. Raise your hand? Seriously? What are they, six year olds squirming in their seats desperately trying to get the moderator's attention so they could get to the bathroom before their abject failure at bladder control is pasted on their pant fronts for the swarmy second graders to point at and make fun of? Is this what the potential new leaders of the free world are to be reduced to? Pissy first graders?
Next let's consider the why of the question. Was there anyone on the stage besides Trump who would even be considered a potential for an independent run? Ok – maybe Rand Paul, but he is not his dad. He has been active in the Senate, working within the Republican organization to try to make a difference. He is not just going to throw all that away for an independent run. So yes, the only one there they were asking was Trump. So why bring that up? I see no spontaneity in that question. If I had to guess, i'd say Trump asked them to pose that question himself.
Why would he do that? I'd say that this campaign is not a chess match for Trump – it's a game of high stakes poker. What he wanted to do is to send a message to the party – ditch me at your own peril. That forces them to let him play as long as he wanted unless they can think of some other way to steal his underpants. The down side for him is they are incredibly inept at the game and his campaign has succeeded to the point that he remains a distinctive lead candidate. I'd say that no one is more surprised by that than him. A true accidental candidate – I really believe he was just trying to get some leverage to build some buildings and sell some books. Ooops! If we are lucky, the coming months will be notably different than what has come before. If we are really fortunate, we'll get what we need in the oval office – an change we deserve. Not because whomever that it is planned to be that, but because that is what is compelled by history.