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Donald Trump and the other Republican presidential candidates need each other.

Trump’s rally is boring. He may have raised the stakes by competing with tonight’s Republican presidential debate, but he’s mostly sticking to the script. Yes, the focus is on veterans, but this is a pretty familiar spectacle for anyone who has followed Trump’s candidacy. Without the other candidates there to play foil, Trump’s rally seems oddly pointless—he’s running a four corners offense to run out the clock in Iowa. 

Near the end of the rally Trump took a final shot at tonight’s debate: “Isn’t this better than the debate that’s going on? They’re all sleeping!” Tonight’s debate has missed some of the fireworks Trump (usually) provides, but it’s been far more entertaining than his Rally to Mitigate Risk. Fox is doing a surprisingly good job poking the candidates to engage with each other, and it’s been willing to roll montages of compromising footage to put candidates in tricky, compromising positions, which feels risky, given that it is very cool for the right to hate on Fox now.  

But here’s the thing: without Trump, who is beating the hell out of all seven men on this stage right now in national polls, it doesn’t really mean anything. These guys are all fighting for second place and that means that the stakes are curiously low. Bring back Trump!