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Tonight's debate should be interesting

If you're one of the serious Republican candidates for the presidency, what do you do tonight about Donald Trump?

The temptation is for everybody to gang up on him. That won't work. His support is irrational, and essentially emotional; if his followers perceive that he's being "picked on" (oh, the irony!) they'll probably just rally around him. And as we know, it doesn't matter how much of an ass Trump makes of himself; the more like a spoiled three year-old he acts, the better his supporters will like it. It's no use goading him into exposing the "real" Donald Trump; that's been on display all along and- somehow- his supporters actually like it.

Despite Jerry Seinfeld's sage advice to treat Trump's lack of manners as the problem and focus on the psychological problems that make him apparently incapable of playing well with others (especially women), once again, this assumes that the audience is being rational. The whole problem is that, at this stage, they're not.

Bobby Jindal points out that when it comes to policy, Trump- not to put too fine a point on it- has absolutely no idea what the hell he's talking about. All Trump is really pushing is Trump. It's an ego trip. Again, there's a real question as to how many of the people who support old Tribble Head really care about anything of substance. Their support of Trump is the equivalent of a collective tantrum.

The only positive here is that I still believe that the American public- and that includes many even of those who support The Donald at this point- are not stupid enough to actually let the guy get anywhere near the Republican nomination. Running against Trump is the one thing which would certainly save Hillary at this point; as one aide to another GOP candidate said this week, Trump would be lucky to carry a single state. It's tough to think of anything that could be a greater disaster for the Republican party than a Trump nomination. Beyond that, of course, there is no way the American people are going to actually let someone as obviously immature and utterly unqualified anywhere near the presidency. The only way Trump is going to get to the Oval Office is on a guided tour.

But it's going to be interesting watching tonight, in an appalling sort of way. Here we have the most talented bunch of potential Republican presidents in a generation, an the rank-and-file is going ga-ga over a childish, egocentric misogynist whose policies are for the most part further out of step with theirs than any of the other candidates and who can't even name the leaders of the most prominent terrorist groups- and excuses his ignorance by saying that "they'll just change, anyway."

It's like two trains headed toward each other on the same track, with no indication that either is going to stop. You really should look away. But somehow, you just can't.

All you can do is to hope and to pray- and to stay calm and trust the rank-and-file of the Republican party to come to their senses once they actually have to make a decision we're all going to have to live with.


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