Debate night: The media want a Trump fight, with blood and bruises

Published September 16, 2015

The press is full of chatter about what the other candidates could, should, must do to derail the Trump juggernaut at tonight's CNN debate.

Naturally, the big audience for the second presidential debate offers the other Republicans a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression in this Donald-dominated campaign. So I expect there will be no shortage of canned zingers.

But every candidate on that stage has to be wary of getting into an insult contest with a gut fighter who doesn't play by the usual rules of political politeness.

It's all well and good for candidates to talk about creating a "moment," but that can't seem artificial or staged, or the attacker will look phony and a tad desperate. Trump's rivals have to deliver a positive message about themselves while drawing a sharp contrast with the real estate mogul, not just denounce him, as Bobby Jindal did, as a narcissist and egomaniac.

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