This Thursday, Republicans will stage their first presidential debate, with Fox News picking the top 10 of the 17 announced candidates on the basis of their standing in the polls. By today’s count, Donald Trump, the current poll leader, will stand center stage, flanked by Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and then the other seven arrayed in order of their poll numbers. Donald Trump’s notoriety may just garner Fox News the biggest primary debate audience ever.
Nervous Republican officials can take some solace in the fact that the debate is moderated by three Fox News stalwarts. They are unlikely to dwell on the irresistible questions raised by the absurdities that Republican candidates have offered up in the last months. Fox News anchors will no doubt try to get candidates to vent their venom on Hillary Clinton and President Obama rather than on each other. Candidates will have one minute to answer questions, time only for expressing an attitude, not a policy.
Some of the questions are already teed up. Donald Trump has put immigration front and center. The Republican assault on Planned Parenthood will no doubt be aired. The Iran deal will be thrashed universally. Ritual pledges to repeal Obamacare are unavoidable.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.