There is no question that Republican establishment political leaders and prominent members of the right wing media are working hard to derail Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Fox News debate moderators on Thursday night took special aim at Trump, trying to knock him down in front of an audience of 24 million people.
While it is not clear that Fox’s efforts to dethrone Trump from his perch atop the GOP field was successful, the post-debate fallout has been ugly with Trump and Fox News waging war upon one another. That war took an especially nasty turn when Trump took an atrociously sexist swipe at Megyn Kelly, by stating:
You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.
That comment was so beyond the pale, that it prompted RedState’s Erick Erickson to pull Trump’s invitation from a Saturday evening RedState gathering at the College Football Hall of Fame. Even the guy who referred to Wendy Davis derisively as “abortion Barbie” thinks Donald Trump’s misogyny was a bridge too far. Of course, that may be because Trump had the temerity to turn his misogyny towards a conservative woman. For Erickson, sexism is apparently unacceptable only if it is directed at women on the right.
While much of the conservative media, led by Fox News and RedState, are working to take Trump down in the GOP primary race, they should be careful. Trump is a sensitive man with a monster-sized ego. If he perceives that Republicans are treating him unfairly, he might make good on his threat to run as an Independent or third-party spoiler candidate, should he fail to secure the GOP nomination.
A Trump third-party run would be a complete disaster for the GOP, basically handing the White House to the Democratic nominee. Polls show that in a three-way race between Clinton, Bush and Trump, Hillary Clinton would win by a double-digit margin.
Republican leaders and the conservative media are in quandary. They cannot afford to let Trump become the GOP nominee, because his toxic rhetoric is sure to sink the party. Yet, if they try too hard to push Trump out of the race, they can antagonize him to the point where he will run an independent campaign, just to exact revenge on those who attacked him. The Republican Party and Fox News helped feed Donald Trumps’ ego for the past several years. Now that they have created a monster, they must walk on egg shells. If they don’t, Trump may feel betrayed and decide to embark upon a GOP-crushing third-party presidential bid.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.