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A GOP debate without the elephant in the room

A GOP debate without the elephant in the room

In this first debate between the candidates for a party that chose the elephant as its puppet, the great challenge everyone faced was to convince the party members of its political feasibility and prove that it is better than Donald Trump, the defeated former candidate and president, four indictments sticking to his heart.

And if we rely on the performance of his competitors during this first debate, the latter can sleep on his ears, as long as he is innocent, until proven otherwise.

Did you miss DeSantis’ assignment?

Ron DeSantis had a lot to lose (or more to gain) in this first two-hour verbal contest. absent The elephant in the roomHe should have been the preferred target of the other candidates. Ideally, his performance would have reassured his generous donors, attracted new donors and, above all, convinced Republican voters that he was up to the politician who managed to win a second term at the head of a populous country. And a mission like Florida.

But this man, who advanced in this campaign for the nomination with an anti-Awakening ideology and priorities far removed from those of the average voter, seems to have made it clear that he is far from inflaming the Republican crowd.

Nor will the Republican presidential candidate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, fare well

Photo: Getty Images/Wayne McNamee

Let us remember that during his re-election as governor The Sunshine StateMany Republicans are tired of Trump’s antics, and see him as the party’s savior, after a series of defeats suffered by the former president, such as the loss of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, a heavy defeat in the 2020 presidential election against Joe Biden (yes, no An insult to conspiracy theorists, after losing 63 appeals to the courts) and finally another downfall of the Republican Party in 2022 when the Republicans dreamed of a red wave that was on its way, especially in the Senate.

Mechanically, in the ready terms he’s been using since the start of this nominating campaign, the Florida candidate didn’t take the opportunity to stand out during this debate. He was applauded during some of his remarks, but at most he collected a small survival oxygen balloon for the next debate.

Vivek, the surprise?

A surprise next could come from a somewhat unknown candidate on the other side of the US border, Vivek Ramaswamy. Born in Ohio to immigrant parents, the 38-year-old millionaire businessman, fast-talker, has taken a combative stance against wukism (which few people ever get to understand the true meaning of the term), repeating that the United States is the way forward. The heart of the national identity crisis precipitated by what he calls The new secular religions are like the coronavirusthe the climate and thegender ideology.

Recently, Ramaswamy has been gaining points in the Republican polls, even managing in some cases to tie with Ron DeSantis for second place, nearly 30 points behind the former president.

Some criticized him for being in the race as just a front runner. Following the change in several cases, Ramaswamy has recently had to defend himself about his conspiratorial ideas regarding the origin of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

He who presented himself at the beginning of the debate as a skinny man with a funny surname tried to portray his rivals as professional politicians detached from reality and puppets of their donors.

Chris Christie, maverick

When asked about climate change, debate host Brett Baer, ​​candidates who believe in climate change had to raise their hands. He didn’t do anything. But Ramaswamy got the ball. It’s a trickhe said, launching a long diatribe against the concept of climate change.

And the occasion was too good for Chris Christie, the King of Political Assassins. Tonight I’ve had enough of the guy who looks like ChatGPTReferring to the artificial intelligence that creates ready-made texts according to the required topic.

Chris Christie

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, went out there and launched some stinging attacks against Donald Trump

Photo: Getty Images/Wayne McNamee

Curious Republicans also expected a lot from Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey. He was salivating at the idea of ​​being able to attack Trump during the debate. His challenge was convincing him that it was time to move away from the former president.

But since questions about Trump’s setbacks didn’t take center stage in this debate, thanks to Fox News, the boisterous former governor tried hard despite it all, throwing some spades against Trump, but it would be surprising if his candidacy jumped in the election. Opinion polls within a party over which the former tenant of the White House is still wielding power.

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Mike Pence, the hated believer Trump supporter

And Mike Pence, who has the most relevant experience in debates, having participated in the vice-presidential debates head-to-head with Tim Kaine in 2016 and Kamala Harris in 2020, has not inflamed Republican public opinion. On the issue of abortion, the man, a convinced practitioner, tried to stir up enthusiasm within the party crowd, with little success.

His defense of the US Constitution during the episode of January 6, 2021 against Trump, who asked him to oppose the ratification of the election results that won Joe Biden, will not convince more than he wanted to seduce.

The question that kills

With no leader in the polls from the first debate, the question was inevitable: If former President Trump were found guilty in court, would you still support him as your party’s choice? Please raise your hand if that is the case. All candidates raised their hands in support of the former President of the United States. Except for Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, who clearly has no chance of winning this race.

Enough to water the mill of the average Republican voter who says why vote for someone other than Donald Trump because his rivals don’t dare block him at any cost.

Nikki Haley is a unique candidate on several points

For a party that wants to reflect the political alternative, it must be noted that Nikki Haley seemed very lonely in putting forth her point of view. The only woman in the group, she had the chance to defend aid to Ukraine against Vivek Ramaswamy, a convinced isolationist.

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley may not have made any friends by attacking Donald Trump

Photo: Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker

But above all, you will have fired that shot that will not earn you points, but will spark renewed interest among moderate Republicans seeking to avert potential disaster with Trump in 2024 because they are unpopular among independent voters.

When it comes to whether or not President Trump should serve the country, I trust the American people. Let them vote, let them decide. But what they will tell you is that it is time for a new generation of conservative leaders. We have to keep in mind that three-quarters of Americans don’t want another Trump-Biden match. And we have to face the fact that Trump is the most hated politician in America. We cannot win the general election this way. A powerful statement, but with questionable effect.

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The other candidates are minor additions

Tim Scott, Doug Burgum, and Asa Hutchinson couldn’t or couldn’t make it, but who cares in the GOP? Party members wanted to know who would emerge, besides the more obvious candidates like DeSantis, Christie, Ramaswamy and Pence. And they didn’t get clear answers or winners. Imagine what the independent voters who would rain down in the 2024 election thought.

And Trump in all of this?

Invited by Tucker Carlson for Fox News debate counter-programming, the 2020 underdog answered questions from the same network’s fallen host, now turned content producer on X, formerly Twitter.

From the very beginning, the former president went there to explain his absence from the evening. Should I sit around for an hour or two, and be harassed by people who shouldn’t even be running for president? Should I do this? And the network is not particularly friendly to me, honestly.

This illustration shows a preview of Tucker Carlson's interview with former US President Donald Trump, which was broadcast on Channel X (formerly Twitter)

On X, Tucker Carlson interviewed Donald Trump

Photo: AFP via Getty Images/Chris Delmas

Among other things, Trump, 77, commented on the age and health of Biden, 80, saying he He is mentally worse than physically, and physically not quite athletic. Adding at the same time US President Biden He cannot lift his feet off the grass When he walks to the helicopter on the White House lawn.

His interview will not go down in history, but it testifies to the actions of an aggressive candidate who realized that media coverage could make all the difference in campaign finance.

Having chosen to shorten the first debate by interviewing an experienced host of his own, he will double down on his daring and challenge by taking the day in his company. Show appearance in Atlanta during primetime for the late-day newscast. History forgets this first debate and scores points with its supporters carrying its thousandth mission like a trophy.