The big debate question: Has Donald Trump finally met his match?

Trump and Cruz voters have plenty in common

Trump may alienate supporters if attacking Cruz too hard

It almost goes without saying that the latest debate for The Election Like No Other will again produce a record TV audience. Donald Trump will legitimately claim credit for that but, happily, CNN have refused to bow to his hilarious demand for a $5M appearance fee.

Why are people watching, besides entertainment value? Undoubtably a section of the US population are genuinely inspired by his candidacy, but many more are disgusted. 47% now hold a ‘very negative’ view, compared to 33% and 35% respectively for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – who are hardly short of haters from their opposing side.

That tells me that, in addition obviously to actual GOP primary voters with a genuine interest beyond Trump, plenty are watching to see him get taken down. Is tonight the night?

I felt Trump made little impact in the last two debates, but nobody actually damaged him. John Kasich certainly made an effort, so too Rand Paul, but neither saw any poll bounce as a result. Perhaps because their brand of Conservatism is fundamentally different to that of Trump supporters.

Now, though, with Ted Cruz surging past him in Iowa, the challenge is very different. Cruz hasn’t attacked Trump throughout, instead praising his hardline focus on immigration. Outside the debate arena, he’s made it clear that Trump voters are in his sights, as the race develops.

So now, as Trump opens fire on his new rival, he risks alienating his own supporters. Since that dramatic weekend Iowa poll, he’s questioned Cruz’ judgement and labelled him a ‘maniac’.

The response was a masterclass in how to deal with such personal attacks.

Interestingly too Rush Limbaugh, that bellweather of ultra-Conservative opinion, came to his defence in his radio show. Despite being one of the few mainstream voices to defend Trump’s planned ban on all Muslims entering the USA, Limbaugh went after him on this, saying:

“A genuine conservative, even in the Republican field, would not go after Cruz this way. So that just raised a red flag for me, made me somewhat curious.”

At risk of ramping my own bets on Cruz – and this is definitely his biggest test yet, finding himself a target for the rest, who mostly despise him – I think Trump has finally picked the wrong fight, and met his match.


One response to “The big debate question: Has Donald Trump finally met his match?”

  1. Paul, I appreciate much of what you write…following is something I think is extremely important.

    As a Vietnam era vet — hearing the war drums beating again — I want to tell you of an evidence-based alternative to tackle terrorism, that is brain-based rather than bomb-based. And science has weighed and measured it to a remarkable extent. I suspect others have had the same thought while viewing the devolution of the presidential marathon: candidates seething with anger, verbally abusing each other, and fomenting public fear, are unlikely bearers of the solutions America needs.

    War is our only option to fight terrorism is their claim: but is it? This is what two retired CIA Directors said about terrorism recently. George Tenet: “You can’t kill your way out of this,” he said, “It’s not sustainable.” And Leon Panetta said that the roots of terrorism must be dealt with: “You’ve got to address what it is that produces this frustration and this anger. It is almost Mission Impossible because, for God’s sake, we’re still trying to figure out how the hell the Baltimores of the world happen; how the hell the Detroits of the world happen; why there are people that are attracted to gangs in this country.”

    I just saw a news interview that brings hope to eyes weary from the innovation-free campaigns — and the boots and bombs ‘solutions’. The old Washington adage hits the target once more: ‘The surest sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again — and expecting a different result.’ My request to you is simple: for the sake of vets everywhere — please watch the interview linked below.

    Dr John Hagelin PhD, quantum physicist (Harvard) and President of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace (, answers questions and explains a scientifically verified peace technology — which has been the subject of more than 50 research studies, including 23 that were published in the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals. A detailed statistical analysis conducted on six of these peace experiments in the Mid East found that the reduction in terrorism and war — over a three year period — was highly significant. The possibility that these reductions were due to chance, was one in ten million million. In the following interview Dr Hagelin explains how this technology works.

    He is joined by Col. Brian Rees, MD, (Co-Chair of Operation Warrior Wellness) a five-times deployed (Afghanistan and Iraq) physician, and an expert on PTSD in the military. And also Bob Roth, Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, which has taught Transcendental Meditation to more than half a million at-risk children in public schools, as well as soldiers with PTSD, through the VA and military.

    When a Coke can, or small vest — or lone wolf/wolves — can do so much damage, it’s time to look for a sustainable solution: one that might exist outside the boots-and-bombs-box. Bomb boasts and bluster may win votes in US campaigns, but history has been less kind. As Tenet, Panetta, and common sense are telling us, considering a new paradigm is worth the time. Also, as President of GUSP, Dr Hagelin recently wrote a letter to President Hollande, President Obama, and President Putin — as well as the Presidents and military leaders of 50 other countries — offering this evidence-based solution to terrorism and war.

    Important Note: With the war pill prescription comes a secret side effect. The candidates don’t mention it. The media doesn’t cover it. The military tries to forget it. 700 veterans take their own lives every month. And countless more are addicted to alcohol and drugs: empty shells of a former life, brain damaged and PTSD riddled. Great human potential, lost to their families, their country and their world. Yes, the 14 innocent lives lost in San Bernardino are an extraordinary tragedy — but no less tragic, is the loss of 22 veteran lives every single day. Thanks for your keen attention to all of this…military action may be necessary, but as an adjunct, evidence-based prevention is healthier than the poison pill.


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