No matter how one cuts it, Donald Trump got a raw deal at the debate.
This is hardly news. Aside from the staunchest anti-Trump commentators, most agree that the debate was sophomoric and, seemingly, dedicated to stirring the pot between political rivals and daring Trump to say something inflammatory.
Whether one agrees with Trump’s comments after the debate is irrelevant; as he stood at the podium, it was open-season on the billionaire who has been rubbing the GOP establishment the wrong way since day one of his candidacy.
The first volley came in the opening seconds of the debate from Bret Baier who asked a question custom-tailored for Trump:
“Who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge not to run an independent campaign against that person? Raise your hand now if you won’t make that pledge tonight.”
Trump raised his hand as we all knew that he would.
Because of his unwillingness to bow and kiss the ring of the GOP who has routinely betrayed conservatives for decades, The Donald may not get an invite to future GOP debates.
Since then, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has asked that all candidates pledge to support their fellow Republican if they should not receive the nomination.
If they do not, it’s likely that such a candidate would be barred from the debates and not receive Republican-held voter data.
“Certainly, I think our candidates should pledge not to run as a third-party candidate. I don’t see that happening. I think everyone understands that if Hillary Clinton’s going to get beat, she’s going to get beat by a Republican. And most people that run for president run to win, and if our candidates want to win, then they’ll have to run as a Republican,” Priebus said.
Trump may have to offer a flimsy guarantee to appease the godfathers of moderate, turncoat politics.
A senior Trump official has claimed that Trump may make the pledge, but noted that it is possible that it could change in the future.
The RNC might make the claim that they would have every right to conduct their debates as they see fit. However, though the RNC is a private party, conducting a national election is a very public and very costly affair.
What you need to know is that the RNC claims it has every right to prevent Trump or anyone else from debating because it is a private club. But—Reality Check—in actuality they are not.
In fact, American taxpayers spent $400 million administering Republican and Democratic primaries in 2012.
That is one of the major problems with the way the party conducts business. On average, only about 9 percent of the voting population vote in national primaries. But 100 percent of taxpayers are on the hook for these so-called private events.
Further, if they bar Trump, they are inviting a massive PR nightmare. Trump currently holds the lead in polls and the RNC’s hatred for the Washington outsider is both obvious and palpable. Denying Trump the chance to speak would only confirm what conservatives have long charged: the RNC are thoroughly disinterested in representing the electoral will of the people who make up the party.
If Priebus or any other RNC officials believe that Trump would be bad for business, these kinds of shenanigans might just doom the Republican Party to the trashbin of history.