At CNN debate, Trump won’t be sole target for robotic ‘gotcha’ questions

Which candidate really bests both Democrats in poll matchups? What mislabeled topic will be part of the questions in tonight’s debate? Who pulled a ‘Harry Reid’? 

White House Highsmith

Photo of White House from Carol M. Highsmith’s America; US Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Div.

Yet another in a long line of Republican presidential debates takes place tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the University of Houston. Judging the hosts and a moderator or two, it’s likely GOP frontrunner Donald Trump will be the target of a hostile takeover attempt.

Trump won’t be the only candidate with a target on his back, though, and there’s something else we can count on that Democrats are rarely grilled about. Amid the pre-debate fanfare, one Republican has pulled a ‘Harry Reid while one candidate ignored one very important set of polls.

Who else will be targeted tonight? 

The topic mislabeled ‘immigration’ will probably comprise some of the moderators’ ‘gotcha’ questions.

Hosts for the debate are CNN, Telemundo, and the Salem Media group. Thus we will likely see a number of questions using straw men figures on migration of foreign nationals. What won’t you see? A single question referencing crime, costs to communities, welfare costs, and failed national security on the matter of US borders both tangible and non-tangible (visas, etc.), even though ample information is right under Americans’ noses courtesy of the US government.

Media and pro-open border proponents routinely deceive Americans about the true costs of not enforcing federal laws (GAO report). No GOP candidate, other than Trump, has even mentioned the costs of that policy. What Trump and others should remind legal immigrants and guest workers about is that they too are impacted by a policy permitting criminals to enter and exit the country at will—criminals are not “immigrants,” by the way. If someone with a violent record or who is part of a multinational gang comes here, he or she has no intention of assimilating. The whole purpose is to conduct criminal activities. Three million “offenses,” according to the Government Accountability Office report linked to above.

Somebody tell Telemundo and their fellow media the victims aren’t just black or white gringos. Thus far, Trump is the only candidate from either party acknowledging these victims.

Head moderator for the debate will be CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Other questions will be asked by Telemundo’s Maria Celeste Arraras, talk radio host Hugh Hewitt and CNN’s Dana Bash. I’d wager at least two of those questioners want Trump to tank, and at least one probably aims at Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), so we are assured there will be the customary ‘gotcha’ questions Republicans face in debates and Democrats rarely encounter. These debates have often deteriorated into dull affairs because moderators go robotic and ask the same ‘gotcha’ questions as though they’re something new.

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) will face a mandate of sorts—he has to deliver an excellent performance. Rubio needs to win a state to stay competitive.

We should note that although Cruz has touted results of matchup polls between Dem and GOP candidates, the senator appears to be relying on averages of different polls. If you look at polls of Likely Voters—these are typically more accurate when it comes to Republicans—Cruz fares less well than Rubio or Trump.

Of the top three contenders, Rubio has the best results on those Likely Voter Polls pitting him against either Dem contender. Trump has the next best results against Mrs. Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders. Cruz bests Mrs. Clinton, but not Sanders. Repeating: I am talking about the sole Likely Voter Poll. It makes no sense to me to take Registered Voter Polls as seriously as LVPs.

Currently Trump has both momentum and delegates. He won the first primary in the nation (NH), the first in the South (SC), and the first in the West (NV). Cruz won the first caucus in the nation—Iowa—but gained only one more delegate there than Trump did because Trump had a strong showing as did Rubio who gained the same number as Trump.

Pundits have talked about Rubio not pulling hard punches on Trump, but that’s probably a practical matter for the senator at present because he is directly competing against Cruz to become the last man standing against Trump. Rubio’s albatross remains the Senate Gang of 8 Bill. Had the senator not been carried into office by the conservative wing of the GOP, he might not have as serious a problem with that bill. But that is the case and there is no ignoring it. That, in my opinion, remains the senator’s only big hurdle. His opponents point to his Senate record. That can be viewed two ways. Rubio can assert he has not been party to negative policies that harm Americans. It’s all in how you parse the rhetoric.

Cruz, on the other hand, went to Washington and for the most part, did exactly what he told constituents he will do. Cruz is favored to place first in Texas, but to really make his continuing the race viable, Cruz needs the lion’s share of his home state’s 155 delegates.

If you compare Cruz and Rubio on the stump, Rubio has an edge. He avoids the pulpit persona and is a very charismatic person. I know because I was among the first to interview him when he was an underdog candidate in the US Senate race. Cruz would also need to broaden his appeal beyond the very conservative wing of the GOP. That would be difficult for him to do in my opinion, although as I have said, I admire Cruz’s record for the most part. I did not approve of his injecting himself into the Kim Davis controversy. I respect differences of opinion on marriage, but I expect government employees to do their jobs for all of us.

For the record, I also strongly disagree with government injecting itself into private employer matters such as the case of the Muslim truckers who refused to deliver liquor. That case was a shakedown of the employer, and another infamy inflicted by the Obama administration courtesy of an Obama-appointed judge. Hopefully that addled judge as well as the bureaucrats in the federal agency targeting that employer will lose their jobs if a Republican takes the White House.

According to the Associated Press, Trump currently has 82 delegates, Cruz has 17, and Rubio has 16. It would make sense for Rubio to do everything possible to grab some of those delegates in Texas by any means. So I think there should be fireworks aplenty tonight between Rubio and Cruz.

It’s a point of interest that a political science professor who claims recognition for correctly predicting election results believes Trump will win the GOP nomination and the White House.

When it comes to total votes, Trump has, at this point in time, surpassed the 2012 nominee Mitt Romney who is, ironically and rather hypocritically, pulling a ‘Harry Reid’ and directing Trump to release his tax returns. Romney also included Cruz and Rubio in his directive. But Romney went beyond proper boundaries on Trump’s returns, saying he thinks there’s a bombshell in Trump’s taxes. In my opinion, that is an inexcusable slur by a GOP former presidential nominee. How does Romney know anything about Trump’s taxes, or anyone’s but his own?

If I were any of those candidates, I’d tell Romney to stuff it, because no one is more responsible for President Barack Obama’s second disastrous term as the Clintons’ proxy in the White House than Romney.

It would also be smart of any of the top three candidates to direct (political) missiles at Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Either would be a disaster for our future and it’s high time the proper target be put into context. As infighting occurs within the GOP, both Democrats are sailing along with customary divisiveness, pie-in-the-sky promises that will break the bank, and apparent approval for taking wealth from the middle class to distribute to favored political blocs.

Trump has one more significant edge. The businessman has never cast a sole vote or impacted legislation or policy because he has not served in office. It’s surprising he hasn’t made more of that characteristic he shares with fellow contender Dr. Ben Carson.

Will tonight’s debate be the customary GOP fracas compared to the Democrats’ cucumber sandwich and teacup affairs? Probably. It’s just the way of media and the far more politically diverse GOP.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 25, 2016)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.

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