The second GOP debate is now history and it has dramatically changed the landscape of the race.
Going into this debate, the race for second place seemed to be firmly in the hands of Dr. Ben Carson. But all that changed tonight.
In the last debate, Carly Fiorina proved that she deserved a place on the main stage and tonight, she did not disappoint. She was the clear winner. However, I doubt that will be enough to present a serious challenge to Donald Trump.
Let’s look at what each candidate needed and how they fared.
- Donald Trump might have liked to have a win. But all he really needed, was to hold his own and make no blunders. He did that. That qualifies as a modest win
- Gov. Jeb Bush was so far down in the polls that he seriously needed a big win. He held his own. That qualifies as a big loss.
- Dr. Ben Carson was climbing and only needed to hold his own. He made several missteps. That qualifies as a loss.
- Carly Fiorina was rising in the polls and needed to hold her own. She knocked it out of the park three times and her story of losing a child to drugs was also very well received. She was the big winner of the night.
- Mike Huckabee was so far down in the polls that he needed a big win. He held his own or maybe even a little better. But since he needed a big win, that qualifies as a loss.
- Gov. Scott Walker was so far down in the polls that he needed a big win. He held his own or maybe even a little better. But since he needed a big win, that qualifies as a loss.
- Gov. Chris Christi was so far down in the polls that he needed a big win. He did very well. Although that wasn’t a big win, it was enough to qualify as a win.
- Cruz was struggling to maintain his viability, after losing his position to Dr. Carson, so he, more than anyone, needed a big win. He did quite well. He did better than hold his own. But it was nowhere close to the big win that he needed. At best, that qualifies as a neutral.
- Sen. Marco Rubio was so far down in the polls that he needed a big win. He barely held his own and some military hawks have even said that he scared them. That qualifies as a loss.
- Gov. John Kasich was so far down in the polls that he needed a big win. He barely held his own. That qualifies as a loss.
- Sen. Rand Paul was so far down in the polls that he desperately needed a big win. He failed to show viewers that he was even worthy of being allowed in the debate with the top-tier candidates. However, his only supporters are Libertarians, who don’t care how foolish he looks. He gained no mainstream support and didn’t lose Libertarian votes. Therefore, his debate performance effectively rates as a neutral.
In the end, Trump was the ultimate winner, simply because he went into the debate with a big lead and made no big mistakes, so he will probably maintain his lead. However, he will now be facing a challenger, in Carly Fiorina, who is not going to be as easy to defeat as Carson or Cruz. This race has suddenly become very interesting.
Author’s Position Statement:
You should know that neither Trump nor Fiorina is my first choice. That person is Gov. Mike Huckabee. But I would be proud to vote for either Trump or Fiorina. I am also convinced that, short of Donald Trump making a massive blunder, he will be our next President. I’m hoping for that blunder, so as to give Huckabee a chance, but I really don’t expect that blunder, not do I expect Huckabee to rise to the top. Making blunders is something that Trump doesn’t do. He didn’t make any blunders tonight and he probably won’t make any big blunder for the rest of the campaign.