Donald Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the last debate before the Iowa caucas has garnered a lot of attention—particularly with Fox News, the media empire hosting the debate.
Sean Hannity spent his whole show talking about it Wednesday. He had several guests on, including Trump’s sons, discussing what the motive and outcome of Trump’s decision might be. Newt Gingrich repeatedly referred to it as petulant. Jamie Dupree said it couldn’t really be about the first debate because people have forgotten about that.
“After all,” he said, “that was six debates ago.”
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at the University of Iowa, Jan. 26, 2016. (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)
Dupree may be, as Hannity touts “the most informed guy in Washington” but he is seriously uninformed when it comes to the people on the ground.
It is apparent he and the media have no idea who Trump followers are. So, let one of the people on the ground, shed some light on the conversation. We have not forgotten the first debate. And while Gingrich calls Trump’s decision petulance, his supporters would call it audacious and applaud him for it—because of that first presidential debate last August.
It was clear from the very first question that the moderators had an agenda.
Bret Behr came out, guns blaring asking if there were any candidates on the stage who had a problem pledging not to run as an independent if they didn’t get the Republican nomination. The audience immediately erupted in protest knowing full well it was a loaded question directed right at Trump. It set the tone for the entire debate.
It was like Fox News set the attack dogs out on Trump.
But it was Megan Kelly’s question and relentless pursuit about Trump's Twitter comments calling women fat that really infuriated people. Her question about when he decided to be Republican didn’t go over well with Trump supporters either. It wasn’t the question itself; the question was fair. It was the way she asked it, sounding just like the establishment media we have come to loathe. His support from American’s fed up with the system skyrocketed.
Why? Because they saw Trump as a victim of the system, just like them, and they rallied around him. They give their support when they meet him at rallies.
“Oh, Megan Kelly, she’s terrible,” they say. “Fox News, I can’t believe what they’re doing to you.”
I’ve seen it.
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump and Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, from left, participate during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Hannity said he and several others at Fox News had been very fair with Trump and couldn’t understand why he’d back out of the Fox debate when the other networks debates were so much worse.
Well, of course they were. We’re not giving them a pass but we’ve come to expect that kind of behavior from them. We don’t like it. We speak out against it, but we’ve pretty much given up any notion they will ever change.
Fox News, however, is another story. That is the one network we could count on to be fair and balanced. What Megan Kelly did was neither fair nor balanced. It was unprofessional, disrespectful, and we expect higher standards from Fox News. There were people so upset over the whole thing they were clamoring for Megan to be fired. The more the media and the establishment attack Trump, the more people follow him.
Maybe the other Fox News media personalities were fair to Trump but that’s not what Trump supporters and conservatives everywhere saw. We saw Fox News behaving like the other networks. We saw Brett Behr, and several others from Fox News, rally around Megan saying how terrible it was that Trump treated her that way while patting her on the back agreeing that “of course she had to ask the question.” We can get biased reporting, distorted news and agenda-driven debates on any network. We don’t want it on Fox News.
No, we haven’t forgotten. And that is why Trump supporters will rally around him even stronger.
They see Fox News going rogue and Trump’s boycott as a way to rein them in. If you don’t believe me then you really don’t know who Trump supporters are. They are disenfranchised, frustrated Americans who don’t feel they have a voice and Trump has given them one. They are people who stay home on election day when they don’t like any of the options. They are voters who will vote against their party straight down the ticket to “teach them a lesson.”
They are people who are concerned for their country and fed up with business as usual and an out of control government. They’re Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, independents, conservatives and even few liberals in the mix. They’re black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, and atheist. They’re business owners, military veterans, doctors, and ranchers. They cover a wide range of ages from all economic backgrounds, races, and religions.
They are American families who see the American way of life slipping away and they really believe with all their heart, Donald Trump can single-handedly bring it back and make things right again.
They love it when he calls the establishment on the carpet, tells it like it is and refuses to bend or apologize. He shows strength and they’re fed up with weakness. He shows boldness and they’re tired of the “let’s cross the isle and all get along.” He talks about love for his country and their tired of people apologizing for it. He proudly declares his success and they’re tired of being persecuted for theirs. It is easy for people to support Trump because he is saying everything they want to hear.
I’ve been blown away by some of my friends who I have known and served with for years who are Trump supporters. It’s like all the issues that mattered so much to them are suddenly pushed aside. One of my friends, a strong conservative leader in Ohio, said people were flabbergasted when she told them she was supporting Trump.
“But what about pro-life?” they asked her.
“My country is in trouble,” she said. “I’ll tackle abortion when the election is over. Right now, I have to save my country.”
“And you really believe he can do that?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she said emphatically. "He says he will.”
It is a bit of phenomenon but we’ve seen it before. Hope and change is a powerful message.
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