Varney said candidate Trump’s “legendary insults and put-downs” drew an audience and called it “riveting.”
“Republicans and Democrats alike were glued,” Varney said. “The TV ratings actually went up because everyone wanted to know what he would say next, what zinger would be unleashed.”
Varney said this is what made political debate “must-see” viewing, and Republicans did well from their candidate receiving extra air-time.
“You knew where Trump stood,” he said.
Now the fifth Democratic debate approaches and, according to Varney, viewers are already turning off the TV. Between the first debate in June and another in October, the audience was cut in half, he said.
Varney said this is because there’s no “stand-out” character and no sharp questioning.
“There’s no Trump in these debates,” he said. “It’s boring,”
After the last debate, 60% of “likely” Democrat voters did not watch at all. Varney said, “This is bad news for the Democrats."
And the field is “very crowded,” he said, with 10 candidates standing, six more still to qualify.
“They really need to narrow it down and they haven't found a way to do it,” Varney said. “And they're miles apart on policy. They are split!”
Varney said Trump’s debate performance “crushed the establishment” and his “go-for-the-throat policies” brought in new voters.
“Donald Trump really did up-end the Republican Party,” he said.
But maybe the Democrats believe Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders can do the same. Or the moderates can make a comeback. To that, Varney says, “Dream on.”
“If you can't get people to watch, if you are already boring your supporters, you're in bad shape,” he said.