And so it begins…


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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116 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I expect things to fall in between the two tracks you outline. I don’t think we’re going to get a real heady debate. I think we might get some inkling of the trajectory change we’ve seen since ’12, though one that different people see differently (the left: “Nothing’s changed”, the center “not enough’s changed!”, the right-right “too much has changed!”)… I’m hoping the “party direction” talk will come, but if it does it’ll be later. We might get some inkling of it with few of the candidates trying to compete with Trump in the Brashlympics. It’ll be hard with this number of candidates, and the whole field uncertain (the leader being that person who is not going to win, and everything so fractured).

    At this point, I’m mostly interested in how well the individual candidates do. The Clear Path candidates have been uneven with two of them (Rubio, Walker) being big question marks and uncertainty (on my part, at least), whether the third (Jeb) is mentally in the game yet. And then how things will go for those on the second tier (consisting of Cruz and Kasich, of those present). And, of course, Trump and the other no-hopers (everyone not mentioned) that I have no idea what to expect from.

    The last thing: Any candidate who isn’t planning out their responses to all sorts of answers to Planned Parenthood questions needs to fire every last one of their advisors.Report

  2. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    The fact that there will be ten of them onstage sounds like a recipe for little more than red-meat sound bites in a desperate attempt to distinguish themselves one from another.

    This is the primary after all. Centrist-soothing comes later.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Certainly a possibility, but that isn’t how things have worked out so far. Even the candidates I expected to tack right (Rick Perry) have made more noises in the other direction, and two of the three top candidates are taking positions on immigration that have helped lead to Trumpmentum.

      I didn’t watch the Voters First forum, though it was something like two hours in before gay marriage was mentioned. That’s encouraging, at least. On the other hand, a debate is a different platform and it’s Fox. And as I have noted, there is more room at the top tier for a candidate on the right-right than there is for consensus-right where there are candidates already.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Ayup, @road-scholar has the right of it, I think.Report

    • Avatar Scott F. says:

      @road-scholar, those attempts to distinguish themselves from each other will be especially desperate considering there is so little distance between all 10 of them: they ALL say Obamacare is an abomination, they ALL say the Iran Nuclear Deal is a travesty and they ALL (even Bush and Rubio these days) say immigration reform can’t include a path to citizenship.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        In all seriousness, does anyone know of any major policy difference between the candidates, even including Trump?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Rubio supports pathway to citizenship as the final phase in a comprehensive immigration reform, and he and Bush both support deportation deferment. Kasich supports Medicaid expansion. Santorum has spoken supportively of a modest minimum wage increase. Perry supports leaving marijuana law up to the states. Rubio and Jeb believe the GOP needs to move on from the gay marriage while Huckabee doesn’t. Paul and Christie are on the opposite sides of various issues.

          At the moment, most are being some degree of vague on their stances, so it’s hard to pin down some of the disagreements that exist. At the very least, the priorities and emphases of a Bush vs a Huckabee vs a Paul administration would be different.Report

          • Avatar Scott F. says:

            Will –

            Thank you. I’d missed that Rubio was still favoring citizenship at the back of the line after his comprehensive reform support went by the wayside.

            That said, the differences you list are relatively minor in the face of the major domestic and foreign policy concerns of the day. I see no one offering a stark contrast on even one of the big ticket issues. That still leaves us with a battle royale over quibbles.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              From a GOP vantage point, path or no, accommodating illegal immigrants versus deporting them is the Grand Canyon of political divides. That none of the major candidates are unquestionably in the “deport them and build a moat” camp is one of the dynamics fueling Trump.Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Well honestly Hillary and Obama were only a hair apart policy wise when they ran against each other too.Report

          • Avatar Francis says:

            Thanks. That was very interesting.

            Follow-up question: How did illegal immigration come to be (what appears to be) the defining issue of the GOP this cycle? Is it that there’s nothing left to fight over?

            By the way, if there’s an issue in which the rank-and-file differ more strongly from the elites, I can’t think of it. How many GOP candidates will advocate for a strong employer mandate? What happens if Trump does?Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Trump, Francis, Trump simply railed on it and since there’s a passionate wing of the GOP intensely invested in it and the rest of the party is either supportive to sympathetic on the issue.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              Illegal immigration is such a huge issue because of the disconnect between the party establishmentarians and the base. It’s one of those things where the party is going to screw over the anti-immigration side at the earliest opportunity. It’s not even paranoia because it’s probably true.

              And so we have a situation in which the Speaker of the House wants immigration reform, two of the three top-tier candidates want immigration reform, the third made noises about it in 2013, and a passionate base doesn’t like the idea. Which makes it hard for it not to be an issue. The anti-immigration folks trust nobody, and their votes are right there for the taking for the right person.

              Enter Donald Trump…Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                4 years from now, :%s/Trump/someone equally hopeless/gReport

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I actually opened with – then deleted – a sentence referring to Trump as more a symptom than the cause. If it hadn’t been Trump, it would have been someone else. Someone less… Trumpy, though. And less able to wreak havoc. (Like Tom Tancredo before him.)Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I’m in the Road Scholar camp. How can you have a debate (in a meaningful sense of the term) when ten people are crowded unto a stage. Though I think it would have been fun if they divided the candidates into groups of 5 and made them conduct the debate like a high school debate team. The pre-debate sessions would be recorded like a reality show.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I’ve personally been in favor of breaking them into three groups of five or six. Do a round or two of that, then start consolidating. The only problem with it is that only one group gets Trump, though I’m not sure if candidates would generally want to be a part of that group or emphatically not be a part of that group. That group would definitely have a different dynamic than the other two, though.

      This whole inclusion-by-polls solution is for the birds.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I should have said teams instead of groups. I really want this to be like a high school debate tournament.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      But there’s no good solution to the problems: Too many candidates. Too little oxygen left over after Trump sucks it all out of the room.

      When there’s no good solution, you go with the least bad available resolution. Limiting debate participants to an arbitrary number, cut off somewhere, by something, is probably that least bad solution. Poll numbers are a better way to go than money raised, which was another idea the RNC floated at one time.

      And you have to let Trump be Trump because, well, he’s doing something that’s attracting what looks like actual support. If you really want to undermine Trump to pave the way for a more Establishment sort like Jeb! or Walker or Kasich, the right way to do it is to wait until Trump flames out from running on full AB for too long.Report

  4. Avatar Morat20 says:

    nstead of 2011’s carnival side-show, I think tonight we might have something that’s even more interesting and that’s definitely more needed: an serious, open, and reasoned debate. And not just on litmus tests issues, but on the future and the very soul of the Republican Party itself.

    I’m gonna go ahead and NOT hold my breath. What we’re gonna get, just on pure pragmatic grounds based on “time” and “number of candidates” is “A basic introduction” and a “brief spiel”. There will be really no debate. It’ll be a job interview with 10 people who occasionally interrupt each other.

    When we’re down to FIVE people in an hour, we will have time to potentially HAVE a “serious, open, and reasoned debate”. I will also not hold my breath for that, because I have read many things said by these 10 people, and those that I secretly suspect MIGHT be serious, sober individuals seem to think wooing the crazy is required.

    I happen to agree with that.

    I’m gonna go ahead and put my money down on “clown car” because, to be honest, my opinion of 2011 is entirely different than yours. I didn’t see Mitt Romney as anointed — I saw a base struggling to find anyone else BUT Romney and being forced to accept him by default.Report

  5. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    The Republican Party should just admit that Fox is pretty much running their whole show and turn the primary process over to the entertainment division. They could run it like a season of American Idol or Survivor and have someone get voted out every couple weeks. You might could get to something resembling an actual debate when you get down to three or four finalists.

    I’d watch that.Report

    • Avatar LWA says:

      Between the Koch brothers owning the GOTV voter database, and ALEC writing bills, places like Kansas should just put the legislators out to pasture and let the people who know how to run things, run things.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      We could have immunity contests every week, at least through Super Tuesday:

      Week One (Iowa): Corn dog eating.
      Week Two (New Hampshire): AR-15 marksmanship.
      Week Three (South Carolina): Psalm recital.
      Week Four (Nevada): Craps tournament.
      Week Five (Florida): Race to rip up Cuban flag the fastest.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      There’s actually some really interesting options for running a debate as a reality show.Report

  6. Avatar Damon says:

    There hasn’t been a real debate any “debate” in ages.

    Personally, ” he acts so much like Donald Trump that everyone else around him looks like a bland and flavorless slice of American cheese by comparison.” Well, that’s what they are anyway, but I’m hoping that they’ll be revealed for being exactly that. I’m hoping for nice sound bytes on NPR tomorrow morning driving into work. I have no plans on watching this faux debate. I’m not voting for any of these guys anyway so….Report

    • Avatar zic says:


      The only justification to watch, so far as I can tell, is entertainment value. The Great Distraction. Let The Games Begin.Report

  7. Avatar zic says:

    I think the media covering this primary (and making it; too, this ain’t no League of Women Voter’s debate), learned their lesson; it’s just not maybe the lesson your or I wanted them to learn. Their lesson was about endless profit in media. It’s free speech, part of the USConstitution, a giant fund-raising fiesta for the privilege of running ads to stir up rage.

    The rage is what drives the money machine, not actual governing; particularly if you’re a media company; since companies are people, too. Rage and outrage and controversy draws eyeballs.

    Remember, Stewart began his show when GWB was in office; maybe it’s not just FOX News that wore him down, it was Obama in office. It’s a lot easier to command attention when the opposition’s in power and you play the role of jester.

    Jester, Coyote, the wild card.

    That’s what Trump is; a roll of the dice. There’s no consensus on leadership merit, so take a chance on Coyote. Right now, I think there’s a bubble in political money. All that money is chasing after the profit centers of mass media; eyeball counts and advertising rates. If there’s no anointed leader, through in a random element to keep the interest and outrage thrumming. That makes money. If you’re a media company, hype is what it’s all about. Hijack the public’s attention with the Hunger Games. Red Blooded America want’s to hear Coyote Trump tell the rest of us that we’re fired at the POTUS Hunger Games. That’s what the hair is; his coyote headdress.*

    I think the FOX news’ money men hope Hillary will be the next president, there’s a lot of opportunity for profit if that comes to pass. SuperPacBubble’s here, and it’s Entertainment All the Way baby. All Hillary all the time. **

    *Forgive me for shameless cultural appropriation.

    ** It fills me with great joy that she’s a grandmother and no longer a babe. What could go wrong with this plan, right?Report

  8. Avatar North says:

    I’m inclined to think that with so many candidates there’ll be very little detail per say, just a lot of scrambling by the lower tiers to try and do something memorable and scrambling by the top tier candidates to not do something memorable.

    First Tier (Bush, Walker, Rubio) Grades:
    C: Manage to not agree with anything crazy or offensive while not overtly disagreeing enough to alienate the base.
    B: Manage to manage a moment of maturity or sensibility in the midst of this circus that will stay with the voters.
    A: Identify when Trump or the Clown Brigade say something completely beyond the pale and perform a Sister Solja manuver on them.
    A+: Compelete the A grade manuver while also saying something witty or funny and not coming off as hectoring or alienating to the base.

    B Listers (Paul, Cruz, Huckabee) Grades:
    C: Not caper like the clown tier enough that you get downgraded to unserious.
    B: Have a memorable line, performance or put down that draws oxygen to you and helps you clamber into the top tier.
    A: Provoke or highlight an error by one of the top tier candidates that brings them down.
    A+: provoke it in such a way that you rise up while they come down. Probably some kind of convervativier than thou mantra.

    C (for clown) listers (the rest including Trump)
    C Throw red meat to the conservative base but don’t go so over the top that you make the base feel embaressed about themselves.
    B: Bring down the top tier candidates by hammering them on their compromises and tacks to the center. Build “real conservative tells it like it is” cred.
    A: Turn in a performance and deliver some lines that knock out some of your rivals gobbling up oxygen and space for yourself.
    A+: Turn in such a good performance that you can launch a new line of books/Fox tv shows/Sell republican elderly voters gold/stocks/etc goods.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      A+: Turn in such a good performance that you can launch a new line of books/Fox tv shows/Sell republican elderly voters gold/stocks/etc goods.

      This. That’s the SuperPacBubble I spoke of.Report

  9. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Remember when Bobby Jindal was going to be the savior of the Republican Party?

    Good fishing lord…Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      What I’m seeing on Right-Twitter right now is that Carly Fiorina did very well, and Bobby Jindal is very bad at pandering.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Yeah, I thought she did surprisingly well. It’s a horse-race thing to comment on, but she looked far more presidential than any to the others.

        Speaking of which, I found myself asking over and over during the debate: How can so many Govs and Sens be so very bad at public speaking? I mean, it wasn’t like they were stuttering or anything, but still — you would think this being their job they would look more comfortable talking on camera.

        Positions on issues aside, Santorum said everything in a whine, Graham was so nervous he couldn’t stop bobbing up and down when he spoke (and he answered every domestic issue Q with what we needed to do in theMiddle East because of course he did), Pataki was lights out on his opening but then looked lost, Gilmore looked like he’d never had to talk in from of a group before, and Jindal was just cringeworthy from start to finish.

        Again, I’m not talking about their stances on issues, I’m talking about their ability to talk in public with a camera on them.

        Except for Fiorina, who looked like shed’ been stumping her entire life — and was the only one who could think on her feet when responding to questions, rather than repeating memorized talking points regardless of how well they fit the questions.

        It’s really quite strange, when you think about it.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          This is one of those cases where the horseracing really matters outside the big three. Carly won’t win, but her success can come at the expense of someone who could. Even success this early on. The sheer number of candidates changes the dynamics.Report

          • Avatar zic says:

            Do you think it’s possible that none of them will win, and they’ll end up with a brokered convention, maybe choosing an outside cowboy?

            Or Mitt Romney?Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              I don’t rate people who have not announced, but if I did, Mitt Romney would be #4.

              (That said, overwhelming likelihood the list stops at 3.)Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                And what about the first half of the question: none of the above?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It’s not impossible, but it’s pretty hard to imagine. If they have no candidate, Mitt will likely step up and I don’t think there is anyone not running that could beat him.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                but it’s pretty hard to imagine

                Well, I’m not having any trouble imagining it.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Do you have anyone in mind? There could be someone who’s not coming to mind.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                I don’t know. Romney lost because of 47% and Obama support amongst the young. This isn’t a midterm, I think the public statements of all these candidates has disqualified them with the exception of Jeb (and maybe him; we’ll see how he recovers from his Women’s Health Care gaffe.)

                Jeb brings the baggage of reliving history, the continuing saga of the Bush/Clinton dynasties. That’s a really heavy weight, and avoiding it requires Sanders knocking Hillary out of the game, and I don’t think that’s going to happen this time around.

                Carly vs. Hillary, however — that’s something to consider, if you’re rolling your dice.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I don’t agree about the disqualification (though I think it’s an uphill climb for any Republican candidate). However, even if that is the case, the GOP will just nominate someone who they know will lose but with whom they are comfortable, a la Bob Dole.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Which sort-of goes back to my point that Rupert and his Media Boys maybe don’t want them to win.

                ETA: That’s why Carly might do better than you think, too. Better to have a woman lose to Clinton than a good ‘ol boy.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I don’t disagree with you about Fox News (though I think they are mostly ambivalent if anything), but I don’t think that would explain it. Rather, I think the party establishment would be driving it as they did in ’96 before Fox News was really a thing.

                I think things would look different for Carly if she’d won in 2010. She’d likely be in the top tier, and maybe if her debate performance is any indication not just because California.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                I don’t know. I have this theory I’m working on that misogyny is the last resort of bigots.

                SSM fight went down in flames, and I think by the time real politicking between actual candidates rolls round, the GOP won’t want to discuss that. The nation is, right now, roiling with awareness of police racial violence. I don’t think the GOP will want to discuss that, either. They can’t avoid immigration; so how’s Carly there? If they’ve got to lose to a women, better to have a women do it and fail, proving a women’s place is not yet as POTUS from the conservaview.

                (And I’m just thinking out loud here.)

                It let’s the election be about something new, too. The Hunger games, featuring dueling Katnisses; the war of the women instead of the war on women.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                My opinion is still that Jeb! wins the same way that Romney won, although it will take longer this time. He’s the establishment candidate, and when it comes time for actual votes, will pick up a steady stream of delegates in “Obama country” — cities and inner-ring suburbs, urban states like NJ and California. He’ll spend heavily in the major media markets in each state and ignore the rural areas. He will be on every ballot, or have a full delegate slate on every ballot in states that operate that way. As happened four years ago, the various extreme conservative subgroups will splinter and spread their votes rather than uniting behind one candidate.

                Jeb! doesn’t have to win debates, he only has to avoid losing.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                In my view, the 2016 field is just different than the 2012 one. The conservatives actually have a candidate this time around and one with potentially broader appeal – as well as another wildcard candidate – and the establishment candidate doesn’t necessarily have the electable argument.

                I still think things are looking good for Jeb, but it looks more like 2008 primaries to me than 2012.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Agreed. As long as he doesn’t screw up or something he’ll be nominated. He needs a screw up to knock him out of the GOP establishment. His only threats for establishment support barely turns in C performances. The establishment will stay with him.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I said before that I think he’ll get it. That may have been an overstatement. I think he has a better shot than anybody else, but I am not sure his chances are better than 50/50 and I don’t think he will win with a C-grade performance unless other candidates fall apart around him and I don’t consider that inevitable.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Maybe. I still think that there’s this fear of re-litigating history of the baby boomers there, and I think a lot of the money holders don’t particularly want that to happen. There’s a lot of risk of adverse impact from investigating some of that history.

                But I may be thinking about that way too deeply and from to far to the left. Personally, Jeb! shot himself in the foot with women’s health and he holds too much Gore v. Bush baggage, including reports issued by The Dept. of Justice

                The Voting Section conducted a thorough investigation of this matter in early 2001 to determine whether any eligible Florida voters had been improperly removed from the rolls and prevented from voting by a violation of federal law. While this investigation was proceeding, Florida enacted its election reform law, which repealed the purge procedures in effect for the 2000 election and replaced them with new procedures for removing voters from the rolls. The new purge procedures mandated by the election reform law were reviewed by the Division pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting
                Rights Act, and were ultimately precleared on March 28, 2002, after two requests for additional information and the receipt of written assurances from the Florida Attorney General that the new purging procedures would be implemented consistent with clarifications he provided during the Division’s review. Because there was no evidence that the provisions were enacted with the purpose – or would have the effect in practice – of harming the voting strength of minority voters, they were precleared. In light of these developments, and because it is unlikely that any injunctive relief won by the Division in litigation would have been as comprehensive as the state’s own reform law, the investigation was closed.


              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Along similar lines, I thought it was absolutely crazy the relatively warm welcome Jeb got when he entered the race… but he got it all the same. They don’t seem worried about it at all.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Well, he’s the classic GOP modus operandi, do what I say, not what I do. It’s the appearances that matter, and he appears to have fixed the particular problem that put his brother in office.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                But I may be thinking about that way too deeply and from to far to the left.

                I no doubt oversimplify when I say that there are exactly two things to consider: former governor of a populous state and time in the high finance sector. Being favored by the Koch brothers gives Walker money; being favored by banks and high finance gives Jeb! not only money, but influential local business voices everywhere.Report

              • Avatar zic says:

                Do you think the GOP has the stomach to have him lose to Hillary?Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Wrong question. Consider how the banksters have done under the Obama administration. Do you think they care if he loses to Hillary? What they care about is Sanders, and Warren, and the possibility of a Republican who might turn out to be a financial populist. Or appoint justices to the Supreme Court who are not as pro-corporation as John Roberts.Report

              • Roberts and Alito are populists, it’s just that their favorite people are corporations.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    As far as the nutballs I follow on Twitter are concerned, Carly won the kids’ table debate.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      I can’t see Carly getting anywhere. Her tenure at HP is a significant albatross. Pretty sure she’s just around so the field isn’t a total sausage fest.

      I honestly don’t know what her candidate appeal is. Background is ‘failed CEO’. Aren’t there not-failed CEO’s running?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I’m not really seeing it either. There are too many people in IT who have stories about her and given the incestuous nature of the business, everybody knows a guy who knows a guy who has a Carly story. And those stories *WILL* get out into wild.

        That said, it looks like the whole “on the bubble” phenomenon will result in her being kicked up to the grownups table for the silly debates we’ll have at the end of August to replace one or two or three of the big losers of the Grownups Table Debate that starts momentarily.

        *THAT* said, there are dumber choices for VP.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          Well yeah, there was Sarah Palin.

          I admit it’s a bit of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t cleft for the GOP, but Fiorina, seems to be tokenism at it’s worst.

          Dubya and Jeb aren’t exactly brilliant businessmen (they both seemed to make money off of leveraging who they were, which is a great skill but not one that really aids the business) but they both managed to get elected to an office before going after the gold ring. So did Palin, for that matter. As unseriously as she seemed to treat it, she DID win office.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            If she gets in to the next debate, it won’t be because of tokenism. That is perhaps the only advantage to the bad decision to use polls.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Not even that.

            Of the various elephants in the room (no pun intended), immigration is one of the biggest ones (if not *THE* biggest one).

            During the topic of immigration, all Opponent X would have to do is ask her what she thinks about corporations involved in outsourcing American jobs to foreign countries.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Yeah, she’s not going far. Significant thing is that she is in Perry’s way, now more than before.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          Perry’s a non-starter. I think the insider gist is ‘he blew his chance’, but there’s also the a lot of pure Texas friction working against him (the Texas GOP is not his best friend. There’s a lot of burnt bridges and salted earth between them. That’s a lot of inside baseball).

          I think lack of money, lack of appeal, and even lack of partisans pushing for him really have him struggling. There’s just better versions of him already running (Walker and Jeb, actually).Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Perry’s chances have been low since the start, but I count him as one of six with a nonzero chance if things go just his way (He hangs in there, Walker implodes, Cruz and Rubio struggle, he becomes the anti-Jeb from the right…), but things aren’t going his way.Report

  11. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Question: Why are we so certain Trump will lose?

    Note: This in part informed by the man behind me in Walmart saying Trump’s tax plan alone will lead him to victory.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Yours, or his?

        Either way, you’re right.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Mine. Well, everybody’s, to be precise. Having an oddity in the lead during the name recognition phase of the primary isn’t unique. Having someone who has donated money to the opposing party’s likely nominee would be. Rudy Giuliani had a better chance. (And also had better poll numbers.)Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            I guess my question is… Why will people turn away from him? People seem to LOVE him.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              A portion of his supporters will stay with him until he drops out. But not enough to get him the nomination. His personality has a certain appeal, but not enough to keep the support of 25% of a party he barely belongs to as things start getting serious.Report

            • Avatar RTod says:

              @kazzy See: Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and really pretty much everyone else who didn’t get the nod but led in the pollsReport

            • Avatar North says:

              Kazzy, Trump has all the supporters that he’s going to get right now. Every time a candidate drops out of the race their supporters will go to everyone but Trump. Eventually Trump will just be the rump*.

              To change that dynamic Trump would have to get serious. He’d need policy positions. He’d need substance. He has none of that. Seriously, google him and check it it. The man is a balloon, there’s virtually nothing but some nonsensical blather about immigration from him in terms of policy.

              Also he can’t get serious. This is a man who is on record supporting Democrats in the past, he’s endorsed single payer, he’s endorsed Obama’s performance, he’s donated to the Clinton. He’s built up the support he has because he’s appealing to the further right wing’s emotions and the GOP establishment** doesn’t want to open fire on him for fear of alienating their wingnuts.

              I am not one for conspiracies but I keep getting the weird feeling that Trump is trolling the GOP on purpose.

              *And yes I loved saying that.
              **Of course the Dems could absolutely defenestrate him but why the fish would they? He’s the gift that keeps on giving.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco says:

                And then he’ll be the “ump”, a position which he actually is extremely well-qualified for – bad hair, a taste for showmanship, and a singular lack of vision. He’d put Enrico Palazzo to shame.

                Then he could be an “MP”, in which case he would be an embarrassment to Britain’s right-wing as opposed to ours.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Hah! Well done! I’d give points but I can’t figure what house you’re in.. where’s that sorting hat??Report

  12. Avatar North says:

    Having skimmed the debate I will say this much. Mostly C-B performances if I’m being generous.

    The one thing I can say for certain. Hillary Clinton is going to sleep soundly tonight.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Good lord, Perry was a mess. I think he might have gotten worse.

      Fiorina did stand out in the sense of looking and sounding the part, but….even though she was an incredibly bad CEO who got fired, the kiddy debate wasn’t outside of her personal experience. I’m sure, over her career, she’s stood in front of small audiences and given presentations where her career was on the line. Or the latest promotion or whatever.

      And the kiddy debate really was a brief series of presentations given in response to canned questions.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        All that matters is if she if she won herself a seat at the big-boy’s table for the next round.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          Eh, depends on the selection methodology. I don’t see her getting a boost from the kiddy debate (I don’t see the kiddy debate doing anything for anyone, really) and I don’t think she’d last long under scrutiny.

          If she were a successful CEO, maybe. Right now she’s a bad choice even for VP. Let’s tell the voters in a fragile economy, with a heavy populist strain of “Where’s all the money going? Where’s all the good paying job?” in the electorate and shove on a woman most famous for laying of 30,000 people before driving the company into the ground and then getting fired for it.

          She literally killed a major company.A tech company, not one of those “old agey dying industry” ones. You stick that in the VP slot at your own risk.Report

  13. Avatar zic says:

    I don’t seem to be able to watch; no cable TV, and the Foxnews watch-live screen doesn’t load, though I’ll keep trying.Report

  14. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Oooooooor, Donald Trump might just be Donald Trump.

    Man oh man.Report

  15. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Man, Jeb looks really weak and scared.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Probably entirely due to local college politics, but my wife notes the local College Republicans are booing Jeb every time he speaks. (She happens to be doing curriculum planning at a bar where one of the colleges CR’s are watching the debate. Having been in college clubs, it really only takes one person with a strong opinion to sway a group of college kids at times).

      She’s pretty apolitical and said that it was ‘obvious’ Fox was going after Trump, which does not sound like a winning play to me if Trump stands up to it, which he apparently did. All that does is cement the fact that the “Establishment” is “scared” of Trump, who stands up in a strong, manly, leaderlike fashion.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        That’s good eyes on the ground info. Thanks.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          I dunno how much I’d draw from a bar full of U of H College Republicans (most likely).

          The bit about moderators going after Trump in a pretty obvious way, maybe a bit more. If she noticed it through her work, it was either really obvious or the CR’s were being really loud about it.Report

      • Avatar Michelle says:

        Seemed pretty clear to me that Megan Kelly doesn’t like Trump and given her druthers, would probably clip off his man parts.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          I thought Kelly was great as a moderator, all things considered. The other two were solid but she might have gotten the biggest “bump” of anyone there.Report

  16. Avatar zic says:

    The NYT, quoting Trump on lenders he’s stiffed:

    10:18 PM ETThu Aug 06 2015 18:18:01 GMT-0400 (EDT)
    ‘Total Killers’
    First of all, these lenders aren’t babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people that you’d think. You’re living in a world of the make-believe.
    — Donald J. Trump, on lenders who lost money on him


  17. Avatar Will Truman says:

    For whatever this is worth:

    Frank Luntz voter focus group coming down hard on Trump, with many saying he lost their support— Jon Passantino (@passantino) August 7, 2015

    Focus group expected Donald Trump to be someone other than Trump. A nice reminder that voters just haven't been paying much attention!— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) August 7, 2015

    Frank Luntz focus group going strongly negative on Trump — including many who were fans going in. #KellyFile #GOPDebate— Robert A George (@RobGeorge) August 7, 2015

    This (particularly Cohn’s comment) tracks with where my thinking has been going. A lot has been made of Trump-mentum. I think what I say above about the dynamics of immigration is true, but I also don’t think that’s what got him to 25%. It’s hard to overestimate the sheer amount of coverage he’s gotten.

    (And… to be honest… I’ve looked at some clips of his speeches. I can sort of understand why people might have gone into the debate expecting something different. He really sounds sober some of the times, and if you’ve seen him sober and read the press clippings, it’s probably not hard to convince yourself that they’re taking him out of context or something.)

    (Or maybe the focus group isn’t typical. We’ll see.)Report

  18. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Well, I’ve missed the whole thing thanks to my many obligations and projects.

    So did Trump step on it? Bush was weak? Thoughts on Walker, the guy I’m picking to wind up on top?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      @burt-likko This is what I’ve heard thus far:

      Kasich – Was considered great by media and some center-right folks. Ignored by the rest.
      Rubio – Favorable to very favorable reviews
      Christie – Actually did well in the first half, hurt Paul badly, but was mostly silent in second half.
      Walker – Mixed reviews. Concerns about blandness were expressed.
      Cruz – Annoyed the people he annoys, others didn’t seem to have much to say.
      Jeb – Moderate to negative reviews. Passive, weak, head wasn’t in the game.
      Rand – Did poorly, though some say he did as well as mediocre. The nicest thing said about him was that it would be really interesting to put him and Christie in two-person debate.
      Huck and Carson – Ignored, for the most part.

      Trump: The format of the debate was not “everybody gets a turn” so Trump was the focus of a lot of attention and got more air time than anyone else by a mile. Very contentious. If Fox built Trump, they may have felt an obligation to try to take him down. Maybe successfully. Though Drudge’s poll declared him the winner, he apparently tanked with Luntz’s focus groups.Report

      • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

        I suspect Fox will hammer Trump over the next several days over his refusal to pledge to support the GOP candidate and not run as an independent if he doesn’t get the nomination.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        My amateur, “outsider”, mostly-but-not-entirely-tuned in Power Rankings…

        1. Rubio – Seemed likable, thoughtful, and not-at-all extreme
        2. Kasich – Seemed normal and to appropriately leverage “David” tactics as an underdog
        3. Rand – I like a good amount of what he has to say but, god, he just seems so smarmy and sleazy
        4. Walker – The biggest knock I’ll put on him is a weird goofiness that makes him hard to take seriously. Which I know is unfair.
        5. Carson – As I said to a friend who inquired about a neurosurgeon running, “Brilliant surgeon. Terrible candidate.” When Carson is talking about anything not directly related to politics, he seems thoughtful, intelligent, and interesting. But god help him when he actually has to politic.
        6. Jeb – Blah. I’d agree with Will’s assessment.
        7. Christie – Typical Christie.
        8. Cruz – I have him ahead of Huckabee only because he at least seems to exist on our planet Earth.
        9. Huck – Where is this guy from?
        10. Trump – Exposed himself as a joke. I now might buy into the notion that he really is trolling. Which is preferable to thinking he’s serious.

        Part of this is based on expectation. If I knew anything about Kasich, I might not have been so pleasantly surprised.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        So, playing the role of Jon Huntsman this year is John Kasich.

        I guess it remains to be seen if Scott Walker is Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Jury definitely still out on Walker. I’ve accused Kasich of going Full Huntsman but that may be on overstatement. He’s polling better than Huntsman ever did (which isn’t saying much) and particularly well in NH. He’s a very outside shot, if Jeb doesn’t get his head in the game.

          He was my favored candidate in 2000. He’s TVD’s favored candidate now. And he’s got the Kazzy seal of approval! The media! A coalition is born! Okay, the Kazzy thing is an overstatement, but if he can avoid going Full Huntsman he might conceivably have a shot. He’s the #4 right now in my poll position, passing Perry and Cruz. Still, lots of room between #3 and #4.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:


            Who are your top three?

            I would say the top three on my list are the only ones I wouldn’t really be terrified of. Jeb doesn’t scare me so much because of his positions but because his motives seem a bit suspect.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              My list is likelihood of getting the nomination rather than who I will support or who I want to win (all three lists would be different, actually, though I have not formulated the last two). The list goes: Jeb, Walker, Rubio (big drop off) Kasich, Cruz, and Perry (though the last one may soon drop off entirely).

              The list is at six because I do not believe any other announced candidate has a chance at all. If all six tank, the nominee will be Romney or some unannounced candidate I haven’t really considered yet. (Since my earlier exchange, only Paul Ryan and Nikki Haley have come to mind.)Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        Interesting contrast from Dreher, who thinks Huckabee, Kasich, and Carson fade, Christie, Paul, and Walker need to step up their game greatly. No one needs to do this more than Jeb Bush; if he were not a Bush, and wasn’t sitting on top of a massive pile of donor money, he would be an also-ran. He just seems so tired, so last-decade. He didn’t like Cruz or Trump.
        So, Rubio. He came across as serious, solid, and fresh. but Dreher gave the night to one of the Happy Hour crowd:

        The big winner overall tonight was Carly Fiorina, who suddenly seems interesting.


        • if he were not a Bush, and wasn’t sitting on top of a massive pile of donor money, he would be an also-ran.

          Agreed. If he didn’t have all three of the three biggest advantages (establishment cred, name recognition, and money), he’d be much worse off.Report

          • Avatar Michelle says:

            Yep. Whereas Romney came off as a soulless used car salesman, Jeb just seems bored (and boring). Romney was dying to get the job; Bush seems to be running because that’s what a Bush does. It’s an obligation, not a calling.

            My money’s on Walker, the Koch puppet.Report

  19. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    As always, McMegan can be counted out to be wrong about everything in totally new ways to be wrong.Report

  20. Avatar H. Rhohrer says:

    The skills required to shine in these debates are only tangentially related, if they are related at all, to the skills required to be an effective president. The debates may even be the enshrinement of an adverse selection process for the American presidency.

    I suspect the only appropriate response to watching them is a deep sense of shame.Report