Here are the winners and losers of the Fox News Republican debate.
Winners and Losers:
1).Marco Rubio – Rubio makes his first appearance on winning side of the ledger because it is clear that the Republican Party and Fox News were both pulling him in this debate. Rubio’s presentation still stinks, and he still acts like an overprogrammed android, but he set himself apart as the Trump alternative. The reality is that by being terribly dull, Marco Rubio isn’t winning much of anything. Rubio did get under Trump’s skin, and he correctly diagnosed Trump’s habit of resorting to insults when he is asked a question that he can’t answer. Of the three candidates who are vying to be the last one standing to face Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio stood above Ted Cruz and John Kasich.
2).John Kasich – Kasich was the only candidate on the stage who differed in style from the other three Republicans. Kasich has intentionally avoided the insults and scrums. Gov. Kasich is trying to play up his experience as an antidote to Trump’s unhinged whims. Kasich remains the sunny Republican. His goal is to win Ohio. He won’t be the last Republican standing, but John Kasich may have done enough to peel off a few essential delegates that will deny Donald Trump the Republican nomination.
1).Donald Trump – The standard for grading Trump is whether or not he or his opponents were able to do anything that might take him off course to win the Republican nomination. In many ways, it was the same song and dance at the Fox News debate. The difference was that Megyn Kelly came prepared. Trump has had a series of lackluster debates for weeks, but the other candidates were not able to lay a hand on him. Kelly hit Trump on his flip-flops and led Trump into a disastrous exchange where he tried to defend Trump University.
Trump has no substance. He is all sell. Trump delivers his pitch and sells, sells, sells. Fox News tried to stop Trump with fact-based questions that attempted to push the frontrunner for specifics. The tactic didn’t always work, but Kelly was effective against Trump in a way that none of the candidates were. Will it really matter with Republican voters? Probably not.
It looks like the Republican plan of using Kasich, Rubio, and Cruz to deny Trump the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination may be their only chance to stop him. However, there is no way around the conclusion that Donald Trump had a very bad debate.
2). Ted Cruz – The same problems that Cruz is having during the campaign were also present during the Fox News debate. Cruz can’t find his footing. He alternated between trying to run on his outsider mantle while attacking Trump for not being a real Republican. Ted Cruz doesn’t have a constituency in the Republican primary. Cruz has become the designated Republican, who will get in the mud and throw sleaze. Cruz’s whole message is that Donald Trump is a secret liberal.
The problem is that Ted Cruz isn’t offering Republican voters anything positive. His whole campaign has morphed into an effort to stop Donald Trump. Cruz is just as unlikable as Trump, but he doesn’t give voters any reason to support him. Cruz and Rubio are two sides of the same coin. They are both anti-Trump candidates and are not strong enough to take the frontrunner out on their own.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association