Any analyst who tries to peddle this as competent analysis should have his political analyst license revoked. Charles Krauthammer, among others, should hand in his pundit badge.
And will someone please give the absurd Frank Luntz another job at Fox? I suggest trash detail. Why do we have to watch these ridiculous studio focus groups? We're supposed to get the "man on the street" view from these people, but only half of them are men and none of them are on the street. They should be--on the street, I mean, as soon as possible.
Why would you say that doing the very thing that has catapulted Trump to the leader in the Republican race for president would hurt him if he did it in the debate?
You wonder about people who act shocked that Trump would do what Trump always does and who need someone to administer the smelling salts to revive them from the fainting spell they have when he does it again--right after he said he was going to continue doing it.
There is literally nothing Donald Trump can now say that would diminish his appeal. What can he say now that could hurt him that he has not already said? He has made himself gaffe-proof by redefining "gaffe." If he says something that in any other candidate would be a gaffe, he just owns it, and asks "So what?" and makes anyone who accuses him of committing one look naive for taking notice.
There is only one thing he could say now that could hurt him: "I'm sorry."
This is the one thing that would kill him. Ironically, it would destroy him because, if he said it (being the authentic person he is), people would believe he meant it, unlike other politicians who, when they say "I'm sorry," don't mean it. Voters wouldn't like the former in a truly authentic candidate any more than they have ever liked the latter from an inauthentic one.
Which is why Trump will never say it. And which is why he may win the nomination if he continues to refuse to do it.
Up until now, I have thought Republicans would toy with Trump and when they got their fill of the entertainment he offered, would go find a respectable alternative, however, inauthentic and boring he or she may be.
But now I am not so sure.
The Trump phenomenon is a rebellion against the Republican Party by its own members. They want to burn the Republican house down and they now see a way to do it. He is Robert Penn Warren's Willy Stark turned upside down: A rich (rather than poor) radical populist who leads an army of peasants with pitchforks that succeed (in Stark's case, if not yet Trump's) in throwing out the establishment bums in his own party.