Donald Trump got booed -- a lot -- during last week's CBS News debate in South Carolina. Some of the heaviest boos rained down as he appropriated fringe-left talking points
"The RNC had a total of ten donors in the audience from our ticket allocation. Ten. So that's about half a percent of the entire audience."
Townhall has obtained a copy of a memorandum sent to RNC members yesterday, detailing how tickets were dispersed:
RNC memo pushes back against "debates stacked with donors" allegation: pic.twitter.com/PVrU26H0ed— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 17, 2016
Trump fans will say that in addition to the hundreds of supporters of other candidates in the crowd, roughly 1,000 tickets were distributed to party officials at the national and state level, so that's how "the establishment" placed its finger on the scale. But the sort of party dignitaries and activists who are most likely to receive these tickets are almost certainly political veterans in the state -- not the disaffected, low-propensity voters who make up a significant portion of Trump's base. The point is that the audience's hostility toward Trump arose organically, based on the way these events are run. It was not premeditated or carried out as some orchestrated scheme. According to public polling, roughly two-thirds of South Carolina Republican voters support someone other than Trump for the nomination, and President Bush has an 84 percent approval rating in the state. The disapprobation directed at Trump, therefore, isn't some sinister mystery; it's a natural product of political realities and Trump's conduct on stage. I appeared on Lou Dobbs' show with the Trump campaign's national spokesperson this week and called the billionaire celebrity out for his incessant whining and conspiracy-mongering:
As I note in the clip, Trump's paranoid theories and provocative assertions are often untethered to empirical reality. He was not robbed of a victory in Iowa. He did not see thousands of New Jersey Muslims
Parting thought: There's a reason why President Obama is singling Trump out for criticism: He's playing to both parties' bases. It's calculated signaling. On one hand, hardcore Democrats obviously loathe Trump for all sorts of reasons -- though they may appreciate his anti-Bush tirades, support for government healthcare, and kind words about Planned Parenthood. On the other hand, Obama knows that by training his fire on Trump, he's poking at the hornet's nest of rage on the Right, elevating Trump in the process. He is intentionally inflaming political tribalism in a way that will redound to Trump's benefit in the short term. As I