CLEVELAND, OH – For those of you who didn’t watch the prime time GOP debate on Thursday, Aug. 6, here’s what you need to know:
Big Winner: Donald Trump. The Fox News team doesn’t seem to like that this maverick (a bona fide maverick, is the frontrunner), and so they skewed the post-debate analysis against him. From start to finish, though, he controlled that stage and made the rest of the field look about as appealing as pea soup by comparison.
Big Loser: Jeb Bush. In a word, he was invisible all night long.
Smaller Winners: Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, John Kasich: Rubio, Huckabee, and Cruz performed just about where they should have, all making good points to help themselves, avoiding gaffes, but not hitting any statement out of the park. Carson and Kasich did a notch better than that. Carson because he finished eloquently, explaining how as a neurosurgeon, he knew that who you are is not skin deep. Kasich because the national audience doesn’t really know much about him, and he made an impressive debut.
Smaller Losers: Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Scott Walker: Christie’s forte is brashness, and Trump completely out-brashed him. Take away Christie’s tough talk and he’s like a doberman without teeth. Rand Paul basically barked out “I’m a different kind of Republican” from right field, but there just aren’t enough fish biting. Scott Walker was the second-most invisible man on stage, behind Bush.
This is downright scary for the GOP, because Trump, who was the only candidate that wouldn’t take the pledge that he would not run as a third party candidate and would not necessarily support the Republican nominee, remains the frontrunner, and yet is diametrically opposed to GOP Party Chairman Reince Priebus, who expects nothing less than complete party loyalty by all of the candidates.
The craziness has just begun – stay tuned!