The Question That Should Be Asked Tonight

As both Nancy LeTourneau and Brian Beutler have argued, you can make a pretty good case that the 2016 Invisible Primary so far has been an unmitigated disaster for the GOP, certainly when compared to all the happy talk of a different kind of GOP we heard in early 2013.

But there’s one aspect of the RNC’s plan for reforming the presidential nomination process that hasn’t quite played out yet: the effort to get conservative media into the mix in candidate debates to prevent embarrassing questions that might produce even more embarrassing answers.

Lord knows Monday night’s Voters First Forum in NH showed that a highly disciplined partisan moderator could avoid any treacherous questions. Will Fox News personnel take the same tack tonight, or instead pursue maximum ratings by lobbing a few hand grenades into the scrum?

There’s one very obvious question that anyone watching the news would ask, but it’s one sure to give Reince Priebus heartburn:

Donald Trump has said he would deport all 11 million undocumented Americans, sending a bill to Mexico for part of the cost. What, very specifically, would you do about the 11 million–not later, right now–and if deportation is the answer, how would you pay for it and how would you preserve civil liberties during a national manhunt and explusion campaign?

If the Foxies somehow avoid this question, we’ll know they’re following higher orders for real.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.