1) Is this the night Donald Trump’s abuse wears thin?
With less than 100 days until the Iowa Caucus, the race to be the Republican Nominee continues to defy convention, expert opinion and the wishes of the party elite. Few expected 14 candidates to still be on the stage for Wednesday’s third TV debate, live on CNBC. Even fewer expected Donald Trump would remain the clear front-runner.
These two developments are related. Trump’s unique, brash, entertaining persona has inevitably dominated coverage and, with such a huge number of opponents, the rest have struggled to be noticed.
If they’re lucky, Trump attacks them and the viewers remember their comeback. When Carly Fiorina took him down for mocking her appearance, it was the highlight of the last debate. If they’re unlucky, they struggle to get any memorable airtime and are forgotten. That goes a long way to explaining Scott Walker’s sudden demise and John Kasich’s recent poll slide.