After the firestorm that Donald Trump ignited in the aftermath of Thursday night’s debate, a lot of pundits are questioning whether this is the moment that many Republicans have been waiting for all summer. After surviving gaffes that would have destroyed anyone else, Trump’s decision to attack Fox News’ Megyn Kelly with a vicious and misogynist slur might be the thing that starts letting the air out of the real-estate-mogul-turned-reality-star’s balloon. But it may be that those who are focusing on the impact of this disgraceful episode on the next poll numbers to come out are missing the real story here. Even if Trump’s results stay relatively strong, he was almost certainly never going to be the person the Republicans nominated for president. But what this contretemps, which led to the first instance of a conservative group shunning Trump, may really be is his first step away from the GOP and toward the independent run that may always have been in the back of his mind.