The “Trump Effect” was in full force last night at the first Republican debate for nomination of the 2016 presidential election.
The debate started out rough, with the moderators asking the Republicans on the stage to take a pledge to support the eventual nominee and not run independent.
Who was the only person that refused this pledge?
You guessed it: it was Mr. Donald Trump.
I can’t write this without admitting one thing, “Donald Trump won the debate last night.”
The reason Trump so easily won the debate was due to the fact that the Fox News moderators had seemingly loaded questions for Trump. They asked him about his bankruptcy, his racy comments, his lack of experience and, especially, his lack of commitment to the GOP and conservative values.
What happened last night was something I didn’t think was possible. Trump made me a partial believer. What the moderators of last night’s debate did was give Trump a great opportunity to defend his positions, and he did a great job.
The truth of the matter is, if Trump didn’t get these loaded questions and they had asked him complicated policy-related questions, instead of silly jabs about political gaffes and rhetoric, then, maybe, it would have gone another way.
I walked away from the debate last night with a new impression of Trump, a much more favorable one I might add. Trump let his funny side come out at the debate and he was so natural on stage that it was difficult not to admire some of his answers.
On the other hand though, Trump is still Trump. If Trump truly wants to lead the United States of America, he is going to have to do a lot more than show he can give a snappy comeback and a tough attitude.
Whenever Trump is asked “how” or “why” or “show us some proof,” he can never deliver.
What I would need to see from Trump is some measure of humility and loyalty. We didn’t see that last night, and it didn’t go unnoticed. After the debate, Frank Luntz held a focus group and this group was “overwhelmingly turned off” by Trump. Trump was quick to take to Twitter to hurl insults at Luntz, telling him his focus groups are “faulty.”
While I was surprised by the focus group, I wouldn’t call the reaction “faulty.”
I saw many of those same reactions last night, as I observed the faces in the room. Trump doesn’t have the humility and loyalty that conservative voters seek. Donald Trump needs to understand that he has to make himself someone that everyone feels like they can trust. While he may tout the fact that he’s used bankruptcy to get around paying bankers as business savvy, many conservatives can easily view it as underhanded.
Trump has a point though; Trump always has a point, which is why he’s doing so well.
We’re currently in the ballpark of $16 trillion in debt, and we do need someone to “straighten it out.” However, I’m not so sure that business savvy is all you need when it comes to the finances of not only our great nation but all of the international organizations we fund and partner with.
If Donald Trump asked me today how he could earn my vote, I would tell him he needs to prove to me that he can do more than talk and do more than just take action. I need Donald to show that he can listen. Nobody wants a President who doesn’t listen to his advisors, doesn’t listen to congress and doesn’t listen to the American people. Trumps supporters and those that admire him do so because of his tenacity, his ruthlessness and his willingness to effect change. That’s a double edged sword to a lot of folks who want a president they can trust not to betray their interests.
The negatives about Trump are known; he doesn’t try to hide them, and the moderators brought them all up last night. I think we need to focus the remainder of the debates on what these candidates actually plan on doing once they become president and how they plan to do it.
If Donald Trump were excluded from the polls, Jeb Bush would be the leader without question. The same goes for the debate. Bush acted nothing short of presidential. He didn’t spar with the other Republicans too heavily, and he stuck to his record and his policy points beautifully.
In the eyes of many people, Bush did win the debate due to the poise and character he displayed. Bush spoke eloquently and responded to each question with answers, basically straight from his platform and videos online. No gaffes or blunders, Bush would have easily had this debate.
Like Trump though, Bush’s best quality is his major downfall. It would have been really nice to see Jeb get fired up last night. It would have been just as nice as if Trump had shown a softer, more trustworthy side.
Bush didn’t get overly passionate, which wouldn’t normally even be a problem in these early debates; but when you have to share the stage with Trump who’s being given loaded, Trump-centered questions, how can you get noticed?
Rand Paul was another person I took specific notice of last night.
Paul got into heated debate with Chris Christie regarding bulk data collection and NSA spying.
Paul showed passion, which I like.
Paul has always been a passionate candidate and has courageously taken on a lot of big-government programs without a lot of help. Paul’s only problem last night is that Christie has the experience of 9/11 to defend his policies, and Paul was unable to respond effectively at times due to this.
Scott Walker, John Kasich, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee all did equally well and I believe all showed they had the ability to debate and appear presidential. None of these candidates stood out though. It’s hard to stand out when Trump spoke for 11 minutes, and most of the others spoke for less than seven minutes.
One thing is certain from last night’s debate. Everyone had better get used to Donald Trump for the foreseeable future. Let’s hope that the next debate we can get some more time spent on important issues to let the candidates get down to the nuts and bolts of their policy platforms instead of focusing on rhetoric, gaffes, and political games.