Why Trump Should Steer Clear Of The Debate Stage — For Now

As many of Donald Trump’s opponents desperately scramble to qualify for the first GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee on August 23, the former President has maintained for months that he may pass on the highly anticipated event.

Once again, this demonstrates Trump’s marketing sass – and his smarts when navigating the murky media landscape that loves nothing but to position him in a negative light, irrespective of what he says or does. Whichever way you look at it, Trump on the debate stage doesn’t benefit him; it only rewards the media conglomerates that love to hate him as they exploit the undeniable fact that he is charismatic ratings gold. Why should he give them all ratings boosts when all these networks will do is endeavor to make him look bad? Even if he did well, the media ecosystem would find a way to cherry-pick and callously spin his performance.

If Trump was walking into a fair fight, if it were plausible that he would be treated with an equal and objective eye, taking the stage would be a different story. However, after more than eight years of endless and often unwarranted onslaughts, it is pretty clear that isn’t going to happen under the mainstream media’s unscrupulous watch anytime soon.

Moreover, the first debate is set to air on Fox News, a network that has recently fallen from the “fair and balanced” path. The second – which Trump is also believed to possibly skip – will be hosted by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, which never bothered to invite him to speak during his presidential tenure, and whose board is chaired by Fred Ryan, the publisher of The Washington Post. This paper relishes in almost daily attacks of the previous President. Thus, why should Trump bother giving them a bump with his presence? For him, there is no upside.

The hypocrisy is undeniable. While the press is already brimming with slam stories at the mere mention Trump might not show, the same outlets didn’t flinch – and instead embraced – the stance of Arizona Democratic gubernatorial nominee when she chose not to debate Republican rival Kari Lake last year, despite polls showing the two women neck-and-neck.