Marketing genius is perhaps the most appropriate way to describe Donald J. Trump’s newest incarnation as the announced host — he can hardly be called a “moderator” — of a post-Christmas Republican debate sponsored by Newsmax, the conservative magazine. Why would candidates agree to join this spectacle? (Jon Huntsman quickly declined, although he can always unleash his daughters’ often-brutal Twitter feed on Trump if he raises a ruckus.)
The problem immediately faced by any candidate who might not wish to risk being “fired” by the Donald onstage as millions watch is how to politely decline without being “fired” in a super-heated blast of publicity right now. As President Obama discovered earlier this year, the press eagerly latches onto Trump at every opportunity, even when he sounds utterly deranged.