In case you’ve been busy over the last couple of days, it’s possible you’ve missed Donald Trump’s whining about the dates of the upcoming presidential debates this fall. Before going forward, for those interested, here they are:
- Monday, September 26th
- Sunday, October 9th
- Wednesday, October 19th
There’s also the vice presidential debate scheduled on Tuesday, October 4th.
Well, it just so happens that two of the three debates fall on days when the NFL plays their games. That’s what Trump’s been complaining about since the schedule was released.
I would like to point out a few facts:
- The NFL plays games three days a week: Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays.
- College football plays games all day Saturday (and usually has smaller games going on Thursdays and Fridays).
- Friday night would be yet another night where Trump could whine about the audience being smaller.
- AMC’s smash-hit The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights against NFL games and still manages to pull in huge ratings.
So, that leaves Tuesdays or Wednesdays — and one of the debates is on a Wednesday.
I would also like to point out that during the Democratic primary, there was no actual correlation between the day the debates were held and the total number of viewers. Here are the numbers for six of the debates:
- Saturday, November 14th: 8.6 million
- Saturday, December 19th: 8 million
- Sunday, January 17th: 10.2 million
- Thursday, February 4th: 4.5 million
- Thursday, February 11th: 8 million
- Thursday, April 14th: 5.6 million (The big New York debate)
While that’s not all of them, the numbers show that the most-watched of those six (and the second highest rated of any of the debates outside of the first one) took place on a Sunday. Meanwhile, the least-viewed (and the lowest rated of any of the debates during the entire primary) came on a Thursday. Then when you look at the overall numbers, the debates that were held on Saturdays did just as well (if not better) than those that were held on Thursdays.
Alright, now back to Trump.
First, he claimed the Clinton campaign forced the debates on days the NFL played as some sort of way to “hide” her from a larger audience. That’s a rather idiotic claim considering the Commission on Presidential Debates that schedules these events is not only nonpartisan, but no party or campaign has anything to do with setting the dates. Trump clearly has no idea how these events are scheduled and was doing what he normally does, which is simply make stuff up in a blatant attempt to pander to people who are dumb enough to believe him.
Then Trump claimed that the NFL personally sent him a letter calling the debate schedule “ridiculous.” The NFL was quick to deny that, releasing a statement saying that they absolutely “did not send a letter to Mr. Trump.”
Well, this seems like a pretty easy thing to prove, right? Either the NFL is lying or Trump is lying. So, I would love for Trump to show us this letter he claims the NFL sent him. I know that sounds like a minor thing, but this is all part of a much bigger “plan” he’s clearly putting in motion.
You see, what Trump’s doing is laying the foundation of excuses he’s going to use if he loses in November. Furthermore, he’s setting up his possible refusal to participate in these debates by claiming that this was some plot against him by a “rigged system.” The whole “rigged system” (aside from being a sad attempt to pander to Bernie Sanders supporters) shtick he’s been pushing recently is going to be a big part of the excuse he’s going to use if Hillary Clinton defeats him.
If Trump goes into that first debate (I think he’ll at least participate in one) and gets absolutely crushed by Clinton, but his numbers don’t take too much of a hit, I don’t expect him to participate in any others.
The truth is, Trump did well in the Republican primary debates when there were a lot of candidates, which meant there wasn’t a great deal of time to get into too many details with one particular individual. However, once it was down to three, meaning that policy specifics became much more the focus — that’s when Trump decided he was done participating in anymore debates against Sen. Ted Cruz or Gov. John Kasich. Then let’s not forget when he refused to attend the debate just before the Iowa caucus because he couldn’t strong-arm Fox News into pulling Megyn Kelly as a moderator.
Not only that, but I find it rather hilarious how he’s implying that Hillary Clinton is afraid to debate him or that the RNC (his own party) would actually want a large audience to witness him being crushed by her during these debates. If Donald Trump was too afraid of facing Megyn Kelly or Sen. Ted Cruz, he’s going to get annihilated by Hillary Clinton.
But make no mistake about it, this is Donald J. Trump laying the foundation for the mountain of excuses he’ll use when he possibly pulls out of one of these debates or loses to Hillary Clinton in November.