The big question at this moment is : will Donald Trump drop out of the race?
The Wall Street Journal's John Harwood tweets: "Roger Stone, asked if any chance Trump will heed GOP officials' calls to quit presidential race: No." On MSNBC this morning, Harwood said that campaign co-chairperson (anyone remember Kellyanne Conway?) implied there is no chance Trump will quit.
In 1972, Senator and Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern won a grand total of 37.5% of the popular vote and 17 electoral votes. In 1984, former Vice-President, Walter Mondale almost duplicated the feat, garnering 40.6% of the popular vote and only 13 electoral votes.
They are remembered in history as fine Senators and failed presidential candidates, and Mondale additionally as a vice-president.
If Donald Trump leaves the presidential race, he will not be remembered as just another failed presidential canidate, like Mondale, McGovern, or Bob Dole. His legacy will be as a big loser.
And not only as a loser. There is the matter of Trump Univesity, in which Judge Gonzalo Curiel- the Mexican born in Indiana- has ruled that Trump will face trial for civil charges of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Justice may be blind, but a President Trump would do better facing accusers than would a private citizen Trump.
Far from release of the damaging video coming at the worst possible time for the GOP nominee, it has come at the best possible time. He has been given warning of a topic sure to be raised, probably at the beginning, of Sunday night's debate. With Ailes, Conway, and othes advising him, Trump should be able to come up with a response sufficient to get him past the debate and on to next week without this story dealing a lethal blow.
He would do well to take the advice of one of his surrogates. Harwood has tweeted "ex-GOP Rep Kingston on what Trump should say at debate about tape: 'I was in the shadow of that Hollywood crude culture.'" He might even launch an attack on "Hollywood" generally. Despite the infatuation of the American people with popular culture, including that from that industry, it has worked for Republicans in the past. He already knows one of the questions, however it is worded. It is up to him whether it is a high, hard one or a hanging curve.