Willing Trump To Vanish

If there’s anything that the movers and shakers and gabbers took away from Wednesday night’s debate other than Carly’s Big Moment, it was that the crazy mirage of Donald Trump should finally begin to fade. Why, specifically? Probe the answers you hear and it’s really just that every day is the right day for the Trump mirage to fade. Why not today?
So many people for so many reasons are disturbed by The Donald’s prominence that they are virtually trying to will him to vanish, and they literally can’t wait for empirical evidence it’s finally happening to arrive.

The best example of this phenomenon is a piece this morning at Politico by Ben Schreckinger with the breathless headline “New Data Shows Trump Fever Breaking.” Do tell! Is there a new poll out? Maybe one a them patented Politico “insider” surveys?

No, turns out the main “new” data he’s talking about comes from a prediction market. Seriously.

Early reactions to the debate, in which Carly Fiorina emerged a winner and Trump struggled to break through, also suggest the race may be moving beyond the Trump-show phase.

On a political prediction market run by CNN and Pivit, his odds at the nomination tanked from 20 percent to 12 percent between the debate’s start and its end.

According to hour-by-hour data provided by Predictwise, a project that compiles information from polls and betting markets to predict the outcome of elections, his likelihood of winning the nomination dipped from as high as 16 percent during the hours before the debate to 12 percent after the debate’s first hour.

“The markets definitively gave Trump a bad night, showing him falling below Rubio in the second tier of candidates likely to prevail in 2016,” said David Rothschild an economist with Predictwise.

“He has stalled, potentially,” said Republican strategist Patrick Ruffini of Echelon.

I’ve been known to joke that at its worst Politico gives you a snail’s-eye view of American politics. But this is self-parody: hourly variations in betting market! And I also have a hard time believing the influential ideologue and operative Mr. Ruffini is an entirely objective observer of the Trump phenomenon, which probably strikes him as an endless series of profanations of everything he believes in. I’d compare its value to Peggy Noonan’s observation in her weekly column that Trump looked “stalled and stale.” This sound a lot like wish fulfillment.

Schreckinger goes on with Ruffini’s help to note some future data to watch to see if Trump really is losing steam, and that’s all fine. But it’s not here yet, and in the meantime, Trump himself is probably having a good laugh at the fear and panic he’s inflicted on those who still can’t believe their eyes every time their smug predictions of a quick demise for The Donald are not validated by current data.

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.