After Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders put on a solid, professional debate for all the country to see last night, tonight it was the Republican party’s turn to remind everyone of the disasters that await us if we end up electing one of these four candidates to be our next president.
Going into tonight’s debate on CNN, I was curious how it would all play out. Well, for those looking for a sideshow, you were disappointed. This was easily the most dull of all the Republican debates thus far.
I’m not even going to hesitate in saying the “winner” of this debate was Donald Trump, which makes the big “loser” the entire Republican party. The fact that he was allowed to look composed, level-headed and calm is fantastic for his campaign and terrible for the GOP. I’m not sure if the plan was to be more civil, but if the GOP wants to “take Trump out” – this was not the way to do it. The only chance they have to stop Trump that doesn’t include a brokered convention is to tear into him every chance they get. While I know that sounds bad, that’s just the truth.
Trump didn’t do anything special tonight. Once again he spouted off his usual talking points, avoided specifics when he was pressed, and was mostly allowed to say whatever the heck he wanted to say. And even though almost nothing Trump says is true, when he’s allowed to say these things unchecked, that’s how he ends up winning debates.
Same goes for Ted Cruz. As the candidate who’s the biggest threat to Trump, he did nothing tonight that’s going to vault him over the longtime frontrunner. With “winner take all” states like Florida going to the polls on March 15th, Cruz desperately needed to take Trump down this evening and he didn’t do it. Not that his performance was bad, but when you’re down by a significant margin, you really do have to go after the person you’re trying to overtake. While Cruz tip-toed around a few attacks, he never really challenged Trump. It made for a more civil debate, but it was a terrible “plan” if he wants to become the Republican nominee.
I thought Marco Rubio did very well. He was poised, didn’t get into any petty back and forth fights with Trump or Cruz and didn’t go into “Marco-mode” repeating himself like he has in previous debates. Unfortunately, it’s probably too late since his campaign has been hammered the last few weeks. Not only has he basically become the fourth candidate in this race behind John Kasich, in many of the recent states that have voted he performed so poorly he didn’t win any delegates. At this point, even if Rubio were somehow able to vault himself into second place, I don’t see a path to the nomination without taking it to the convention.
As for John Kasich, what can you say? He might win Ohio, but it’s clear the only way he becomes a “player” in this race is if it goes all the way to the convention. I will give him this, while I know he’s very conservative, he’s the only candidate who seems remotely rational. I disagree with much of what he says, but at least he seems to believe what he says. With these other candidates it’s just empty rhetoric and absurd talking points about “really great” plans drawn up by the “smartest people around.”
To be honest, this was probably the night Donald Trump sealed the Republican nomination. Whether it was just a coincidence, or encouraged by the party itself, if the “plan” for the GOP to take down Trump was a civil debate where his idiocy went almost completely unchallenged – all that did was make him look better than he has in weeks. Trump is full of crap and the only way to expose his b.s. is to go after it aggressively and directly. That didn’t happen tonight.
The thought that one of these men might become our next president is absolutely terrifying. Eight years ago many of us thought that Republicans couldn’t have done worse than George W. Bush – we were wrong. If this country elects a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as its next leader, many people on the left are going to be longing for the days of “Dubya.” President Trump or Cruz would tear apart and destroy this country to such an extent that I really don’t think we would ever be able to fully recover.
As I’ve said for months, once a nominee is picked, everyone on the left must come together to make damn sure our next president is either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. On their worst day, they’re a million times better than anyone on that stage tonight.
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