Tossing Fox News Aside
Donald Trump's decoupling of Fox News from the GOP's presidential nomination process will be the lasting development from this election cycle. Trump wanted control of his own narrative, and wanted a way to separate himself from the pack. Trump used Megyn Kelly as the excuse, and issued a demand that he knew Roger Ailes could not agree to: dump Kelly. If Ailes had agreed to that, he'd be seen losing power to Trump, which was never going to happen either. But Ailes went a step too far with his sophomoric press release attack against Trump, giving Trump what he was after all along, a visible elevation above the rest of the pack at the expense of Fox News and their anticipated ratings.
The net result of Trump's successful effort to beat Ailes here is that he now has the steering wheel: neither Fox News, the RNC, nor the party's elites can stop him without an all-out GOP civil war that will destroy the party. They now all need him more than he needs them, especially Fox, which Trump in a way has now made expendable. It will now be even more interesting to see what Ailes, Fox News, and the rest of the party now do in dealing with the reality that their likely nominee is a loose cannon who doesn't need them. Ailes' network needs to curry favor with Trump or declare war on him; both alternatives are fraught with peril for Fox. The RNC is only needed for their control of the election machinery and the convention, and any move by them to deny Trump the nomination through a brokered convention will lead to that civil war.
Ailes and the GOP are now reaping what they have sown in the Obama years. Through their hatred, they've energized a fringe element in the right wing base through lies, victimhood fantasies, and outright racism to the point that the monster has turned on its creator.
Update: There, of course, is an alternate explanation for what happened last night. From watching the pre-packaged video clips Fox used against both Cruz and Rubio in their questioning last night, it's fair to assume that Fox would have hit Trump with the same, if he had shown up. Is it possible that Trump knew ahead of time that the network was going to hit all three of the leading candidates with video hit pieces during the debate, and Trump simply decided to not give Kelly and Ailes the pleasure?