Americans owe a big thank you to Donald Trump. Thanks to his candidacy for president, 24 million people tuned into see what otherwise would have been a meaningless debate. As a result, we got to see early on who is and is not a legitimate candidate for the republican nomination in 2016.
Was Trump Treated Fairly: One thing we learned is Donald Trump is better at bullying people in business than he is in politics. Trump, and his supporters, believe he was not treated fairly by Fox News moderators.
The fact is he is simply nothing more than the guy at work who loves to point out everything wrong with the company he works for while failing to offer any solutions. While Trump may know how to tap into the anger of many Americans, it should be noted he has yet to offer up any real solutions to immigration, health care, or the Middle East.
A Better Audition Than Debate: With viewership at an all time high for a political debate, this proved to be a better audition for candidates than an actual chance to display one’s mastery of the issues. Little was offered up as far as solutions while candidates relied more on rehashing their resumes to convince voters why they should be considered a serious candidate.
Future debates need to demand more substantive answers from candidates so voters can distinguish Republican alternatives to Democrat proposals.
Will they offer a solution to Obamacare beyond simply repealing it? Rather than saying, “We need to secure our border,” will they explain how to secure it? Instead of punishing the rich with more taxes, can they explain how a consumption-based tax system will work and why it is fairer than the system in place? And why should women put their faith in another conservative male over Hillary Clinton?
Time’s Up: With the exception of Carly Fiorina, the remaining six candidates assigned to the kid’s table need to pack it in. There is a reason why they do not connect with voters and if you watched their debate, you know why.
As for the grown ups, Ted Cruz might be an outstanding debater and very intelligent person, but he is about as stiff as a three-day old dead body and about as open-minded as a know it all, which he seems to think he is.
Rand Paul, well, all I can say is he is no Ron Paul. Mike Huckabee is a likeable person and a great guy to have around to make you laugh, but his thinking is a good 50 years behind the times.
Ben Carson was probably the most intelligent person on the stage, but is he so bored with the brain and all of its inner workings that he wants to come to Washington D.C. and work with a bunch of morons? Do yourself — and the nation — a favor and go back to medicine. We need all the good doctors we can get.
Finally, Chris Christie. He is smart. He has been successful in politics. He is well known. Oh, and he is about as subtle as a train wreck and as tactful as Donald Trump. Why, after seeing his popularity drop so low, he thinks he can win over the country is beyond my scope of comprehension.
Bush and Walker: Other than Trump, these are the only other candidates who have time on their side. They did not have to hit it out of the park and a lackluster performance among ten people would go largely unnoticed, which is what happened.
Both seemed content to let the Trump circus play out and just remind the country of their success as governors. However, eventually, they will have to step it up and light a fire among voters or risk being another Bob Dole.
The Winners: I will start with Carly Fiorina only because she was the only candidate at the kids table to warrant consideration on the main stage next month. Does she stand a chance at winning her party’s nomination? No. However, she is poised to become a name player on the national stage which makes her political future look very bright.
Marco Rubio also had a great night and for such a young guy, he came across as very well spoken and seemed more than capable of leading this country. He offers up a great feel good story about the American Dream and could be a very attractive candidate to both younger and Hispanic voters.
The biggest winner, however, had to be Ohio governor John Kasich. Having grabbed the tenth and final spot in the main debate, he took full advantage of his time to introduce himself to the country by telling a great family story about his upbringing while providing a message of uniting as a nation and moving forward rather than remaining stuck on past conservative defeats like abortion and gay marriage. A Kasich/Rubio ticket may well be the winning ticket Republicans need in 2016.
And That Other Guy: And what about Donald Trump? If you were an angry American going into the debate, he scored high with you. However, if you sought solutions to complaints, he scored poorly. One thing is for sure, if you are Marco Rubio, John Kasich, or Fox News, you owe Trump a huge thank you because he did more for you than he is ever likely to do if he gets elected to the White House.
James Moore is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching and currently runs his own personal training business, In Home Jim, in Hemet, CA. Jim’s writings are often the end result of his thoughts mulled over while riding his bike for hours on end.