We are about to witness bankruptcy #5 for a Trump-related entity. This time, he’s filing a strategic bankruptcy on behalf of his campaign to establish protection against the blow back from his upcoming loss in Iowa. If he pulls this off, it will be the rallying cry he needs to convince his current and future supporters that it’s them versus everyone else. He’s going to play the victim card. It’s probably going to work.
Donald Trump knows that whether or not he attends the Fox News Iowa debate, he’s probably going to lose the state. He knows this because he’s proven to be a master at campaign strategy, albeit an unconventional one. Most of us expected his early missteps to be indicators that he would fade or implode. What we didn’t realize is that he wasn’t playing the standard campaign game. He brought a new level of campaigning to the table that he’s been crafting for over a decade and that he’s been mastering in business his whole life.
He stepped into the boxing ring against several experienced boxers and he unleashed some jujitsu on them. They never saw it coming. In a way, we may be witnessing the most amazing long game confidence trick in the history of man, something that may become a permanent part of the history books akin to Alexander The Great’s rise and fall… but I digress.
Those who would argue against this theory will say that the polls show him up. The reality that only Trump’s campaign fully knows is that they have a minuscule ground game compared to Cruz, a passionate (online) but lazy (in the real world) voter base that won’t be caucusing much Monday night, and an artificially inflated social media presence with “meatpuppets” trolling Facebook and the comments sections of certain websites (thankfully not here).
It may sound like a very reckless play, but think about it. Even better, try to think about it from Trump’s perspective. Would he rather lose Iowa and have to seem weak by making excuses or lose Iowa with a tangible reason that he can echo with his whining about everything being unfairly stacked against him? Remember, he has very little that he can gain from a debate containing substance and this debate will likely focus more on substantive issues than any of the previous debates. He’s good when the topics are fighting ISIS or sealing the border but he fails when they ask him tough question such as how to fix the nuclear triad.
If he wins Iowa without the debate, he’s in the strongest possible position to win the nomination. If he loses but has the Fox News asterisk to place next to his defeat, he’ll attempt to turn that into momentum for New Hampshire and beyond. This cannot be allowed to play out as he has planned. People must be made aware of what he’s going to do so they can see it unfold with discernment. Otherwise, they’ll risk hearing his Pied Piper call.