CNN and FOX post-debate analyses miss night’s biggest news

by Heather Robinson

In the wake of Tuesday’s Republican Presidential candidates’ debate, the astonishing phenomenon continues to be Donald Trump. Big news that seemed to get overlooked in post-debate wrap-ups was Trump saying he is ready to rule out a third party candidacy. One had to listen closely, but it seemed like Trump offered something close to a promise that he will not run as an Independent.

This seems like the biggest news of the night; interesting that discussion of it was all but absent from post debate analyses on CNN and FOX. Did the political journos and analysts just miss this? Or are the chattering classes so skeptical of Trump’s assertions that they assume it doesn’t mean anything? Below’s the word for word (thanks to

Asked if he is ready to rule out a third-party candidacy, the billionaire businessman and former Atlantic City casino mogul said: “I really am.”

“I’ve gained great respect for the Republican leadership,” Trump said during the debate in Las Vegas. “I have great respect for the people I’ve met through this process. I’ve never done this process before.” 

“I am totally committed to the Republican Party,” he continued. “I am very honored to be the front-runner. I think I’ll do very well if I’m chosen.”

“I will do everything in my power to beat Hillary Clinton,” Trump added in reference to the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

Was he putting to rest any question as to whether he will leave door open to run as an Independent? Sounds like it.

You had to listen pretty hard to what he said to get a sense of whether he is actually promising to run as a Republican. But look at the transcript. Sounds to me like he is making that promise. But who knows what it’s worth?

It was a definitive enough statement that, should another Republican get the nomination and Trump run as an Independent, this should count as overwhelming evidence of his having huge integrity and honesty issues. Of course, he can argue things change. But he’d have a hard time, I think, making that argument to a group of people who have supported him largely on his rejection of career politicians’ corruption and lack of authenticity.

If he does run as an Independent (thereby siphoning off votes from the Republican nominee and virtually ensuring Hillary a victory), he’s setting himself up to be characterized, fairly, as a manipulator and liar, which would place him squarely in career politician category.

I for one have never believed that this is purely a stunt for Trump.

He wants it.

Sounds like he believes he has a real, actual, decent chance at securing the Republican nomination.

Might he?