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Tags: donald trump | fox news | debate | megyn kelly

8 Ways Trump's Debate Boycott Could Help His Campaign

8 Ways Trump's Debate Boycott Could Help His Campaign
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump peers out into the crowd during a campaign event at the International Air Response facility on December 16, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 27 January 2016 10:10 AM

Republican front-runner Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will not attend Thursday's debate after Fox News refused to remove co-host Megyn Kelly — who Trump has long argued is biased against him.

"With me, they’re dealing with somebody that’s a little bit different. They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else. So let them have their debate, and let’s see how they do with the ratings," he said, according to The New York Times.

Instead of attending the debate, Trump said he will attend a charity event for veterans.

Gathered below are eight ways that Trump's debate boycott could help his campaign.

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1. The move will raise money for veterans
— In a statement announcing he'll skip the debate, the Trump campaign also announced that he'll participate in a charity event instead. "He will not be participating in the Fox News debate and will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians," said the statement.

2. He maintains his outsider cred — Trump's rise to the top of the field has been fueled in large part by his appeal as an "outsider" fighting against "establishment" politicians and media. By painting Megyn Kelly and Fox News as part of the establishment, he shores up his No. 1 asset: outsider credibility. Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager, told Politico that Fox has "executives over there who’ve got relatives working for the other campaigns."

3. He maintains a strong image — When Trump asked that Kelly be replaced as debate host, Fox News responded with a flippant statement: "We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president. A nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings." Later, chairman Roger Ailes personally told reporters, "Megyn Kelly is an excellent journalist, and the entire network stands behind her. She will absolutely be on the debate stage on Thursday night." By sitting out the debate, Trump is telling the world that he won't be pushed around. "Roger Ailes and Fox News think they can toy with him, but Mr. Trump doesn’t play games," the Trump campaign said in a statement.

4. He stays on top of the news cycle, gets free publicity — Having been an on-air personality for decades, Trump knows how to masterfully play the mainstream media, and even The Washington Post admits that, "By announcing that he will not debate, Trump likely will dominate news coverage." One reason Trump has been so successful as a candidate is because he has garnered a ton of free, earned media, and hasn't had to spend much on advertising. 

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5. He sets the tone, forcing his rivals to react — Trump's boycott is an offensive tactic that keeps his rivals on the defensive. By making bold moves, Trump forces his rivals to have the conversation he wants to have. Already, Ted Cruz — his main opponent in Iowa — has likened Trump's boycott to skipping an interview, The Washington Post reported. While Cruz may score a few points attacking Trump in this way, he is ultimately taking time away from what is arguably his best line of attack: that Trump has expressed a great many liberal positions in the recent past.

6. It helps him avoid the firing squad — As the front-runner, Trump will be the prime target for the last GOP debate before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses. If he were to take the stage, his rival candidates would likely team up against him like never before. Unlike the other candidates, Trump is a household name, and doesn't need to introduce himself to voters. Each debate has diminishing returns for Trump, and Thursday's event is especially dangerous. Better to skip it.

7. It helps him avoid Fox News host Megyn Kelly — Trump believes that Kelly is out to get him, just like National Review, Glenn Beck, and other critics. When National Review released its "Against Trump" issue last week, the Republican National Committee dropped them from an upcoming debate it was supposed to co-host because of its stated bias. If Kelly is biased against him, why should he participate? "Mr. Trump knows a bad deal when he sees one," the Trump campaign said in a statement.

8. He can claim he's already won all the debates — "There have already been six debates, and according to all online debate polls including Drudge, Slate, Time Magazine, and many others, Mr. Trump has won all of them, in particular the last one," the Trump campaign said in a statement. "Whereas he has always been a job creator and not a debater, he nevertheless truly enjoys the debating process — and it has been very good for him, both in polls and popularity."

Vote Now: Which GOP Candidate Would You Support in 2016?

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TheWire
Republican front-runner Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he will not attend Thursday's debate after Fox News refused to remove co-host Megyn Kelly — who Trump has long argued is biased against him. Here are eight ways that Trump's debate boycott could help his campaign.
donald trump, fox news, debate, megyn kelly
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2016-10-27
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 10:10 AM
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