General Thoughts on the 2016 Republican Iowa Debate

By Matt Johnson

Senator Ted Cruz
Photo Courtesy of Jim Watson, AFP/Getty Images – Senator Ted Cruz

Wow! That was a different debate. It was a lot more substantive and reasonable than the previous debates. I wonder why that is? Anyway, here are my winners and losers for the 2016 Presidential Republican Iowa Debate.

My Winners

Rubio and Cruz are my winners. They both had that “Eye of the Tiger” feel and they took full advantage of the absence of Trump. But Paul rebounded. Whereas he was mostly invisible in the previous debates, I believe he earned a second place finish or at least an honorable mention. The absence of Trump helped him more than any other candidate.

Finally, Rubio and Cruz didn’t back down from each other, or any other candidate for that matter; and Paul addressed criminal justice reform directly and how the War on Drugs has disproportionately effected “black” Americans. I thought these were strengths among the top-tier candidates.

My Losers

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
Photo Courtesy of The Des Moines Register/USA Today Sports – Jeb Bush

Well, everyone else lost. I’m not sure why Bush is still in the presidential race. There’s nothing special about him other than his name. And frankly, I don’t know any republicans, democrats, or independents that are interested in what he has to say.

Carson is a sweet and genuine man. I believe he means what he means. And when questioned about his political inexperience, he was correct to assert his experience with receiving 2 am phone calls, putting together teams of professionals, and addressing complex problems. This may have been in medicine, but he has that kind of experience, even if it isn’t by way of governing and policy. But Carson’s time is running out. He’s just not charismatic enough to stay in it for the long haul, i.e., Trump.

There was another guy? Who was it? Christy? Kasich? They’re old school republicans. They’re just not representative of the party anymore.

Final Thoughts

It was clear that Rubio, Cruz, and Paul were in a league of their own. They are the top-tier for this presidential race. Rubio and Cruz are good debaters, and Paul’s intellectualism got to shine through with the absence of the cold, dense air of Trump.

However, as long as Trump remains in the race, he will continue to drown out the substance and healthy discourse amongst the other candidates. The top-tier candidates like Rubio, Cruz, and Paul won’t get many opportunities to show their stuff to the American public, and sadly this was probably it for them. In other words, the nomination is Trump’s to lose. He’s a celebrity in a celebrity’s world.

For more on the topic of the 2016 Presidential race, you are invited to read 2016 Presidential Race: Rand Paul with Chris Matthews and Science and The 2016 Iowa Republican Debate.

**Remember, there is nothing more American than discourse. You are always welcome to post your comments, thoughts, and questions below. Feedback is always appreciated!

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