Why Trump has already won tomorrow's debate (without showing up)

Tomorrow night, Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJuan Williams: Trump gives life to the left Kennedy retirement rumors shift into overdrive Pompeo to outline post-deal strategy on Iran MORE might become the first presidential candidate ever to win a debate he didn't show up for. The other candidates will show up like they're supposed to, and they'll stand at their podiums answering questions. Some opinion writers will spin theories like, "Trump doesn't really want to win" or "This will be what finally does Trump in."

Some anti-Trump Republicans will believe this is the other candidates' chance to shine. They'll talk about their first-month-in-office goals. They'll talk about their policies and tax plans. Nobody will mention that Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are on the ends because they barely got in, but there may be some old-school prepackaged zingers. Someone will unleash one of those zingers and think it will make a great sound bite for the media to play over and over. He won't understand that "the zinger" is a dead art; a relic for future archaeologists. They'll dust it off and discover Trump's teeth marks on it.

That's all old paradigm stuff, the way elections were in the before times — before Trump. When he looks at the rest of the candidates on the debate stage, all he's going to see is a bunch of people trying to jam an eight-track into a CD player.

Trump won't miss making news by skipping the debate. Trump is the news. I wrote last week in The Hill that the Republican Party and the media don't pull Trump's strings; he pulls theirs. This is what I meant. This is Trump pulling the media's strings. After the debate, the big story isn't going to be what former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio argued civilly about or whose flat tax proposal The Wall Street Journal likes best. The story is going to be whatever Trump did instead of the debate. Will missing the debate hurt or help Trump? What did he tweet while the debate was on? Did anybody watch the debate? Did the numbers go down? Are Iowans offended?

I don't know if Iowans will be offended. I know I'm not, and here's why. If elections had titles, this one would be called the "tapping into anger" election. All we ever hear about is the anger that Trump is tapping into. These old-paradigm politicians are the source of that anger.

Over the last few years, our politicians have deserted accountability and left it for dead. The debt keeps going up. The IRS targets Americans for their politics and Lois Lerner's hard drive is M.I.A. Americans are meant to believe that men who were on the ground in Benghazi know less about what happened there than politicians and left-wing bloggers. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton stored classified emails on her personal server. "El Chapo" ran around with fast and furious guns. And nobody is accountable for any of this. And none of the politicians in the government can do anything about any of it as long as the wrongdoers keep up their lies.

From the average American living room, it has become clear that the only laws our politicians are bound by are the laws of presenting themselves perfectly in front of the TV cameras and nailing the preprepared soundbites. Basically, try to keep the B.S. thick enough that nobody sees through it.

The coming Trump victory is simply a continuation of what happened in 2010 and 2014. He has his faults, but so what? People are tired of watching politicians try to present themselves as perfect. Say the right thing. Wear the right clothes. Smile more. Get some boots that add an inch. Use this term, don't use that term. Someone might get mad. Someone might be bothered.

Trump says what he wants, even if it leaves everyone mad and bothered. Trump is real, and he clearly has no patience for B.S. Like the rest of them, he isn't perfect. The difference is, everyone else is pretending to be.

The other candidates are desperate to keep playing by the old rules, but Trump destroyed those rules. I woke up yesterday morning excited about tomorrow's debate. Today, I woke up excited to see what Trump will do instead of the debate. That's why Trump has already won.

Zipperer is assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College.