Pity the poor eight Republican presidential candidates who showed up Thursday night in Des Moines, Iowa in advance of voting that starts on Monday.

The final GOP debate—just three days before Iowans caucuses and 11 days until New Hampshire voters cast first-in-the-nation primary ballots—was run off the rails by a competing event just three miles away. That event, sponsored by Donald John Trump, raised millions for America’s wounded warrior veterans. It also called the bluff of Fox News, the sponsor of tonight’s debate featuring his competitors.

In what many said was a game-changing move, Donald Trump’s decision to ditch the Fox debate created a media vortex of his own.

With Mr. Trump not on stage to suffer the slings and arrows hurled at him by Fox News, its moderators for tonight’s debate and the other Republicans who all trail him by a wide margin, he dominated the news by not being there in person but being their in spirit, with his absence showing the power he wields in a new world where being a stranger in a strange land trumps establishment politicos and their establishment campaigns.

Kasich Doesn’t Stand Out

As with all previous debates, Ohio Gov. John made the cut off for the debate, but as before, he was on the end and showed nothing more than he’s showed before. Talking like a wind-up doll that can only say a couple phrases, he returned to his canned stumped speech no matter what the question was from Fox News moderators, Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.

Mr. Kasich may have been in Iowa tonight, but he wasn’t talking to Hawkeye voters, he was talking to voters in New Hampshire, where’s he’s gambled his future status as a viable candidate.

As one watcher and pundit put it, “John Kasich must have been thinking about New Hampshire because he didn’t really show up tonight.”

The conservative Washington Times put it all in perspective for Gov. Kasich in one line. “The audience he’s trying to reach was in New Hampshire, not Iowa. Voters that liked his center-right view of the world coming into the event, likely still do, and those that didn’t, likely still don’t.”

Underscoring how Gov. Kasich didn’t stand out, an AP Iowa report on debate take-aways didn’t mention him at all.

John Kasich is therefore not a factor in Iowa, as polling shows, and he’s tied with Marco Rubio for third place in New Hampshire, where Donald Trump leads the second place finisher so far, Jeb! Bush, by a wide margin. Viewership will be down as many chose to watch CNN’s coverage of Donald Trump at Drake University, site for his quickly set-up fundraiser for wounded warrior veterans.

In the hour following the debate, the pundits and prognosticators who appeared on both Fox News and CNN post-debate shows did not mention John Kasich not even once. The talk was all about Donald Trump or the match-fight between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio that centered on immigration reform, amnesty and a path to citizenship.

The debate featuring Google as a partner with Fox News found Mr. Kasich finishing dead last with Google searches. The new troika of top-tier candidates people searched on Google for includes Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in that order.
Kasich At 2% In Home State Of Pennsylvania

In separate news, a poll of Pennsylvanians shows one of their native sons, born in McKees Rocks, PA, before moving to Ohio, is barely polling at all back home.

A Franklin and Marshall College poll conducted in Pennsylvania showed Donald Trump with a commanding lead of 24 percent. In second place was Ted Cruz at 14 percent with Marco Rubio in third place with 11 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, born there 64 years ago this year, is tied in a three-way race at two percent for next to last place.

Gov. Kasich has received a spat of small town newspaper endorsements in New Hampshire while some polls had him as high as second place. Landing in second or third place may sound good, but if the leader is 20 points or more ahead, as Mr. Trump is in many of these polls, the question for all the losers who follow behind is, so what?

Camp Kasich may be Zen-like, the current meme used by some reporters to spin his worry about heading back to Ohio after he doesn’t do well in New Hampshire. Gov. Kasich isn’t Zen-like in any aspect of his life. He doesn’t turn the other check and plays rough when he sees trouble coming. Normally crusty, John Kasich has moderated his off-putting personality, which broke through in previous debates as he struggled to get debate talk time.

Wild Card Obama Weighs-In On Election Outcome

Speaking at a retreat of Democrats in Baltimore, President Barack Obama had words of warning for the GOP candidates who think the White House is their’s for the taking.

“At each juncture, every single one of the steps we took, they [Republican] said the opposite. Wanted to go in a different direction, claimed that our policies would crush jobs and destroy the economy. Do people remember that?” the AP reported.

As the wild card this season, the president promised that “we will have a Democratic president succeeding me. … And the reason I can say that with confidence is because we focus on the things that matter in the lives of the American people.”

Having a little fun with Mr. Kasich, The Ohio Democratic Party sent out a link to a position posting on Craiglslist.

Ohio is looking for new leadership! Compensation: $148,316Ohio taxpayers seeking a uniter, not a divider, to lead state government while current chief executive and top lieutenant pursue other opportunities in Iowa and New Hampshire. Candidates must have expertise in dealing with the following issues: Weak job growth, Disturbing infant mortality rates for African-American children, Abysmal child poverty rates, Charter school data-scrubbing scandals, Municipal water crises.”