John King dropped this little-noticed bombshell in last night's debate analysis: there are Republicans who were praying that Trump would "tank" last night, so he would drop out of the race and leave them to try to win House and Senate races without the anchor of his loser-hood dragging them all down.
King notes that Trump made the audiences of Breitbart and Drudge and "another network" (hmm...) very happy, but that will not help him win the election.
Here's the transcript:
JOHN KING: Most of his strategies were clearly designed to.. (A) listening to his Alt-Right advisers. This was a Breitbart strategy, from the pre-debate, and through the debate. If Donald Trump’s goal was to stop the bleeding, and he is bleeding, across the electorate...if his goal, priority one, is to stop the bleeding on the Right? Then, it may have succeeded in that. If you look at state by state, if you look at the battleground states and the demographic breakdowns in the states, he is losing now in a way heading into the last 30 days.... Remember, the timing is critical. Some people are already voting. More people will start voting this week. Even more vote after that. Many in the most important battleground states. Thirty percent of the American electorate voted early last time, it will likely be higher this time. So the day of the election is not on November 8th, it is now, for many people, in the states that matter. And if Donald Trump needed to shore up his conservative base? His team is very happy. He was much more engaging tonight, he was much more aggressive and counter punching and he got to some of the issues that they believe are her weaknesses. To Dana's point there: does that win you a vote of a modern woman in the Philadelphia suburbs? I bet you not. Is it going to get you raves, on Drudge and Breitbart and other conservative media, and on another network, you all know who I'm talking about? Most likely.
WOLF BLITZER: At least he stopped the bleeding among his own base.
Polish that turd, Blitzer! And here's the bombshell.
KING: Uh, yes. I think that's a fair assessment. You can see in the mood, and even in the Republicans that don't like Trump, they think this is the worst possible outcome. Because they thought if he tanked tonight, there’d be pressure to get him out of the race. And now they’re saying he did well enough to stay in. They don't think he can win and they think he hurts other Senate and House candidates, but they think he did well enough to sustain himself without a doubt. And they know that’s what they think inside Team Trump, without a doubt, they think he had a very strong night.
Wow. I can smell the House of Representatives from here. Nancy Pelosi said she thought the Democrats might get a one vote margin if Hillary wins big, and that would be rich given all the "fifty percent plus one" malarkey we've heard since Bush.
And of course, these are the Congresspeople who have leaned on the Deplorable voters from Breitbart and Drudge for years. They may be Never Trump, but no Republican in Congress can afford to stand tall against Drudge zombies. You might as well fund your primary opponent yourself.
We've got one request for the Republican nominee: Stay in, Donald Trump! Fight fight fight!