Donald Trump refused to budge on his debate boycott during an interview on MSNBC. With Trump, Republican debate viewership has dropped by nearly 60%. Without him, Fox News could set a new low in 2016 debate ratings.
During an interview on Morning Joe, Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski repeated that Trump won’t be attending the Fox News debate.
Lewandowski was asked if there is any way that Trump will do the debate.
He answered, I just don’t see any way where Fox is going to have a successful debate now when you’ve got the clear GOP frontrunner whose decided to walk away from this debate because he can’t be treated fairly on the debate stage. You’ve got a network that wants to make news, not about what they are going to ask the candidates about policy issues, but about personal attacks. Maybe Fox was going to have a 20-25 million person debate, but without Mr. Trump’s participation, they might have a one or two million person debate.”
Trump’s campaign manager went on to claim that Megyn Kelly is obsessed with Trump. Honestly, one look at Trump’s Twitter feed will tell you that it is the other way around. Trump has been obsessed with Kelly since the first Fox News debate.
Republican debate ratings have declined from 25 million for the first 2016 debate on Fox News to 11 million for the most recent debate that aired on Fox Business. It is unlikely that Fox News will do a viewership number as low as 1-2 million, but this debate will be a test of the rating strength of Trump.
If viewership stays at 11 million or grows, it will be a sign that Trump is not the draw that he thinks he is. If viewership plunges, to around 5 or 6 million, it will be a disaster for Fox. The last Democratic debate drew 10.2 million viewers on a Sunday night on NBC. If Fox can’t match or beat that without Trump, it will confirm that the Republican primary is all about the billionaire and the GOP is in big trouble.
Fox News isn’t going to get close to the 20-25 million viewers that they wanted for this debate. The wheels are completely falling off for Republicans as Trump has managed to do what many observers thought was impossible. The Republican frontrunner is making some conservatives question the honesty and credibility of Fox News.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association