The fourth round of Republican debates has come and gone with some interesting results. Fox Business should be congratulated for the show they hosted. For the first time, there were adults in the room (moderators) and the nation finally were shown where the various candidates stand on the issues. Fox News, CNN, and CNBC were put to shame for their performances in the previously aired debates.
During the first debate, Chris Christy seemed to dominate. His personality allowed him to stand apart from the other three. Christy will probably get a bump in the polls and in his bank account due to his performance. It will be interesting to see if the bump equals that of Carly Fiorina, who was an unknown going into the first debate.
The subject was the economy. For the first time, we witnessed a mature debate about the issues. All the candidates had an opportunity to show their differences on the issues. Who won or lost depends on what you think rather than what the candidates said. If you favor cutting military spending, then Rand Paul was your guy. If you thought keeping illegals in the country was important, then John Kasich or Jeb Bush won.
Because of issues before the debate, there were several candidates that needed outstanding performances to keep their candidacies relevant. John Kasich was one of those. Personally, I thought he failed. He presented himself well, however, I think the Republican base will perceive him as weak in too many areas. Kasich comes off as someone who is not a fighter for the conservative base. He just appears to be too weak to fight the Democrat left. Another candidate who I think showed a disconnect with the base is Rand Paul. His isolationist philosophy does not play well with the conservatives.
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz both did very well. Rubio is a dynamic speaker who relates well with his audience. His personal story will carry him far. Rubio is weak on immigration, but overall did a very good job. He should get a good jump in the polls. Marco Rubio will, I think, join the two heavyweights at the top of the polls. Ted Cruz had a quiet night. However, his comment about immigration, having lawyers and journalists come into the country illegally and driving down wages of those professions would bring a different attitude in the media. That sound bite will stay with the viewers.
Jeb Bush, who needed a strong performance to keep his campaign going, improved his performance over the past debates. Jeb is a meek personality that just doesn’t show him to be tough enough to stand up to our foes, both foreign and domestic. Although he improved, I do not think he did enough to right his ship.
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned the two elephants in the room. Donald Trump and Ben Carson both did what was expected of them. As the frontrunners, they had to avoid making mistakes during the debate. Both did a good job of protecting their frontrunner status. As the others were scrambling and jockeying with each other, these two needed to just explain their positions. Any change in the polls relating to them will be because of their positions, not because of any gaffs they might have made.
My list of winners and losers are as follows. On the winning side I list Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christy and FOX Business. My losers include John Kasich, Jeb Bush and Rand Paul. Of course, the polls will tell the final story on the evening.