Okay, crazy wild-ass conspiracy theory to follow.
Donald Trump is a Republican plant. Not the leafy kind, the kind that waves it's hands and keeps you from noticing someone is making bunny-ears behind you for the class picture.
I know what you're thinking, but give it a moment (and I'll probably discount this tomorrow).
First off, the Right has a long history of shouting "Wolf" and the Left only to kept the Left from claiming the Right is the Wolf. If you've been watching Fox news you've seen this play out a thousand times. And this strategy was outlined in a number of memos that came out from Newt Gingrich in the 90s on how to influence people and win elections. And it was early on that the Right claimed that Donald Trump was a plant from the Democratic Party.
See, one of the lessons the Right learned in 2012 was that people actually listen and pay attention now. I know there's been a lot of "Mitt Romney lost because he couldn't sway minorities… he was too moderate… he was establishment…" blah blah. Remember all their polling told them they would win easily. But you know what, the electorate had almost 6 months of Romney, and that was all they could take. Actually we had enough of Mitt as he was dragged to the Right to win the Primaries, he couldn't swing hard enough to the Center to win in the general election (the Right wouldn't let him, and there were all those statements he made during the Primaries that came back to haunt him, "Corporations are people, too, my friend" and "I'm a conservative's conservative").
So, what better way to remove that threat as all the candidates swing hard to the Right to win the primaries than give the public Bread and Circuses. What did the English Parliament call Trump, "a buffoon, a clown…". But an entertaining one. As all the other candidates make their dog whistles to the Right, Trump is out there in front blatantly calling out the political game and sucking up all the air in the room, not to mention all the air time from the news. So the Right gets to hear the candidates, but the general populace only gets to hear Trump.
Trump is winning what the Right considers their "staunch supporters", they kind they believe will come out and vote for anyone with an "(R)" after their name. All to keep those godless liberals from office. So, the RNC thinks Trump can do his dance, keep all the yokels satisfied and keep the Left distracted.
Why would he have not only missed the last debate before Iowa, but also counter schedule his own event? Maybe to keep the general public's eyes from the debate, but allow the hard core caucusers get a clear view of the candidates.
The RNC and Fox News keep going from loving him to having fits about him. But lately those fits have held a tinge of "Don't throw me in the briar patch" about them. Plausible denial.
And what does Trump get? Publicity. Lots of it. And he gets to call himself a winner. Fawning fans that love him, feeding his narcissism. And in the end, maybe a President that will see to his interests as a very rich guy. Also, if he plays his cards right, it might be him (do you think Trump would never try to double-cross someone?).
Just some idle thoughts.
I'm sure it's not true.