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August 23, 2023
What to look for in tonight's GOP Primary Debate from Wisconsin
The first GOP primary debate is TONIGHT. Eight of the nine qualifying candidates will debate live from Milwaukee.
Taking the stage will be Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, and Mike Pence. There are two others. But Asa Hutchinson was murdered by Tucker Carlson, and I don't even know what a Doug Burgum is.
It starts tonight at 9:00 pm on Rumble or one of them cable news channels. But I know that you know that I know where you're going to be watching.
Missing from the stage is frontrunner Donald Trump, who announced this week he won't be taking part in any debate. For the other candidates, this can be both a blessing and a curse. Trump not being on stage means he won't be sucking all the oxygen out of the room, and other candidates have a chance to break through. However, that also means they need to break through. And without Trump there to make everything about Trump drama, the moderators will make everything about the other candidates' drama. Talk about issues? You must be new.
I also don't see anything happening tonight to affect the polls. With all the unearned media and with his status as the former president, Trump is going to remain #1 in public opinion polls for the rest of the year. The ONLY thing that will change the polls is the results of the Iowa Caucus. If someone other than Trump wins, the polls, and the race will be in flux until Super Tuesday. If Trump wins, good game everyone.
Without Trump there, that makes Ron DeSantis the "frontrunner" of the debate. He needs to just not have a "Marco Rubio" moment. Rubio in 2016 was tracking to potentially win the New Hampshire primary before he got disemboweled by Chris Christie at the last debate. A possible win turned into a FIFTH place finish. DeSantis's biggest problem heading into the debate is that he got f*cked by his SuperPAC leaking to the media what they want him to do. Now if he does things he was going to do anyway, like criticize one of his opponents or defend Trump against the Left's witch hunt, is it going to look like "he's only doing what the SuperPAC said?" The only Republicans NOT defending Trump against Biden's DOJ being weaponized against him are auditioning for a cable news job.
Vivek Ramaswamy is one of the two candidates I'm most interested in seeing tonight. He has had a number of breakthrough moments on the campaign trail and combating cable news journalismers, and a few polls have him #2 nationally. But the knives are starting to come out, and there are a number of issues he changed his position on since last year. This will be his first appearance on the national stage. Will he "lose himself in the moment" or will it be "times up, over, blouww?"
The other person is Tim Scott, and it goes back to the Iowa Caucus. He is number three with five months to go. But unlike the last three upset Caucus winners (which were the last three IA Caucus winners), Scott can then go to South Carolina where he is a US Senator and Republicans have voted for him statewide already.
I'd be very excited to vote for Chris Christie for president... in 2012. Eleven years later, while Trump is #1 in the polls, Christie is #1 in the highest UNfavorability rankings. His entire debate plan was to attack Trump live on stage. Otherwise, he has nothing to say. What he does without Trump there, we'll find out later tonight.
Everyone else? Meh. Nikki Haley may get spared from being cut out of the second debate depending on the South Carolina polls where she's the former governor. The other three, I don't even know why they are there for this one.
Brodigan is Grand Poobah of this here website and when he isn't writing words about things enjoys day drinking, pro-wrestling, and country music. You can find him on the Twitter too.
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