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What we can expect out of tonight’s GOP debate

Today marks the first debate for the Republican nomination for the President of the United States in 2016. Today is the day many people will get their first real impression of these candidates. After work tonight I’ll be speeding to Stevie Tomato’s to a debate watch party with the Southwest Florida Young Republicans and I’ll be tweeting nonstop throughout most likely. Why all the buzz, why care at all?
There’s a great chance that one of these ten men will be the leader of our great nation. Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or some other affiliation – you should probably familiarize yourself with some of these people. The fact that there is a chance one of these men will run our country, merits them some of our time and attention.
The first thing I would like to mention about the debate is the sad fact that we couldn’t see Carly Fiorina tonight. I think it’s a shame she couldn’t earn the percentage points necessary to qualify for the debate. Carly Fiorina is famous in the business world when she was CEO and Chair of the Board at Hewlett-Packard during her Compaq merger. Carly Fiorina basically merged with Compaq to consolidate her power among the board members of HP, she did this by assuming a dual role and increasing pay and bonuses for board members while ousting others. Needless to say, Carly Fiorina is ruthless and she has a lot of things that many people look for in a presidential candidate. Another sad note is that Fiorina was the only viable female candidate and her omission from the first debate means that there will probably be no female Republican candidates for President this year. You can see Carly in the ‘happy-hour’ debate before the main debate along with other declared candidates that didn’t make the cut.

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump.

We can’t talk about this debate without talking about the technical front-runner, Donald Trump. I won’t lie to you, arguments can be made all day long in favor of Donald Trump. People like Donald Trump for the same reason I admire Carly Fiorina. Trump is ruthless, he doesn’t pull punches and he has a head for business. Trump is number 405 on Forbes list of The World’s Billionaires. It’s fair to say that he has a grasp of what it means to run a business but I don’t want Bill Gates running the country, so why Trump? Republicans like Trump for one simple reason: we are tired of losing. The Republicans voting for Trump are the ones that are sick of feeling ignored. This would be the group Nixon referred to – the Silent Majority. Having had eight years of President Obama, highly conservative individuals feel disillusioned by the direction the country has gone, which is understandable.
Then we have the side of Trump that the media has absolutely eaten up, the side that attacks minorities and cannibalizes fellow Republicans. Not only did he say some hurtful things about Mexican immigrants, he went on to attack John McCain. The fact that Trump not only put the party in a bad light with his comments on immigration, but then went on to attack the party establishment obviously put him at odds with the GOP. The RNC defended McCain and there was talk of barring Mr. Trump from the debates. However, the next and perhaps most important topic emerged when Trump said that if he couldn’t participate he would run independent.
The irony of this year’s events is truly hysterical. Trump is threatening to basically do the same thing Ross Perot did for Bill Clinton in the 1992 election. The irony here goes further because it came out that Bill told Trump that he should run, after his wife Hillary Clinton had officially entered the race. Another Clinton, with another Ross Perot to split the vote of conservative Americans that would generally vote Republican. The GOP couldn’t have this, so tonight we will hopefully see the true Donald Trump and he can tell us what his plans are and why he is running for President of the United States.
Long before Trump was on the radar, Jeb Bush had always been the front-runner. Since Jeb is considered the ‘establishment candidate’ many mainstream Republicans still consider Jeb to still be the true front-runner. Not only does Jeb have the establishment advantage, he has raised more than any other candidate for president – by a long shot. Bush has raised more than $114 million which not only outdoes all of his Republican adversaries, but also blows Hillary Clinton’s earnings of $69 Million out of the water.
When it comes to Jeb Bush, we got a preview of what he should be like tonight.
Jeb was quoted as saying he was going to come with his ‘big boy pants on’ tonight, assuring us all he wouldn’t pull punches. However, Jeb has seemed nervous these past few days stumbling over easy questions at a forum. Jeb having the jitters won’t be a big deal, unless he has them tonight. Most would say though that with the adrenaline of the debate, Jeb should be fired up enough to deliver what party members are looking for from him. Tonight we’ll be looking for Jeb to show strength and a quick wit, his policies are known because he’s published them and discussed them at length online. Tonight I will be looking to see if Jeb can hold his own in a debate and stand his ground on tough subjects, without crossing too far over the line.
Next, with 11 per of the vote compared to Trump’s 23 percent  and Bush’s 13 percent is Scott Walker. Scott Walker is the Republican Governor of Wisconsin. Governor Walker has always been seen as a major contender and probably would be Bush’s largest threat without Trump. Walker is a strong candidate, he gutted public unions in Wisconsin by getting rid of their collective bargaining power. After he did this, since Wisconsin is such a strong Union state they worked against him to get a recall vote in 2012, which is basically a vote to remove him from office. Walker survived the recall election and then even got reelected in 2014. Perhaps the most important thing about Walker is where his funding comes from. Walker’s most notable donations come from organizations like Americans for Prosperity which of course is part of what is generally known as the Koch Network. With funding from some of the wonderful policy and grassroots organizations within this powerful conservative network, Walker could easily be considered a contender for the nomination.
The next two candidates, both with 11 percent, are Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson. This will be Huckabee’s second run for president and will probably be similar to his last run. There is nothing wrong with Huckabee as a candidate, he is well established and a staple of the Fox News network; however, with such a crowded field this year there are simply too many better and more relevant options. This won’t keep the former Governor of Arkansas away though, and I’ll be happy to hear what he has to say tonight. Perhaps if Huckabee has some fresh ideas and does well he could surge.
Ben Carson may not be a rocket scientist, but he is a brain surgeon. As far as being intelligent and educated goes you can’t really go wrong with Ben Carson. He’s from Detroit and he’s an incredibly successful political author. Carson is highly conservative and doesn’t believe in evolution or same sex marriage. Ben Carson is the only African-American Republican candidate for nomination and has been gaining considerable momentum since announcing. Unknown to many, tonight will be a great opportunity to hear more from and about Ben Carson – without running out to pick up his autobiography.
Marco Rubio is another great candidate and he has made huge strides in our home state of Florida towards getting nominated. Rubio’s mentor was Jeb Bush and Rubio is experienced but he is not a typical ‘establishment candidate’ which makes him popular with those disillusioned by the political process.  Rubio is young and he is also a Cuban-American which both have only added to his growing popularity.
Rand Paul is perhaps the most vocal candidate, and the one who actively works in the government taking drastic measures like filibustering the Patriot Act for an incredible ten and a half hours.  Rand is extremely active on Twitter and is the favorite among the youth because of his pro-freedom sometimes anti-government views. Rand wants to end NSA spying and reform the justice system.
No matter who you want to be president in 2016, tonight’s debate will be one to watch. Other candidates I didn’t discuss that you will see tonight include Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. If you are interested in attending future debate viewing parties or to get involved with the Republican Party in Southwest Florida please get in touch.

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