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Thoughts from 4th 2023 Republican Primary Debate

I've lost all sorts of understanding and credibility for the 2023 Republican Primary debates. I think that's not only obvious from my previous posts but also from the stature of the debates ranging from large-scale networks to where it finished up in 2023 this week. The 4th debate finished with a rating of 2.5M people. A long cry from the 12.5 who watched the initial debate.
I fear people may have lost hope, or have their minds made up. Which, really is a shame for the sake of debates and gathering information from our candidates. 

I remain still on the same platform as I did when the first one happened, and that is until Donald Trump takes the stage, it really lacks credibility as the candidates squabble for second place, and even then, besides Chris Christie who has made it very clear on his position, they are strategically positioning themselves to not alienate the Trump base until they absolutely need to. 

It's all still so weird. And I don't blame Trump at all. The GOP is handcuffed, and if you're not a Trump supporter, it really does leave you in an awkward position for your conservative vote. 


Here are a few big takeaways (for me) from this final debate of 2023. 


We got a little bit more on Trump in this debate passed the obvious that he's not on stage. 

Of course, it was Christie who went straight for Trump once again, this time placing the fire to the feet of his colleagues for not answering the question of whether "He [Trump] was fit to be President?".  After long answers of dodging and posturing, Christie once again called them out asking Desantis and Ramaswamy to answer the question directly to which neither would make a claim either way. 

Ramaswamy countered later on with a well-timed and poignant jab of everyone onstage at one point "licking Donald Trump's boots" for endorsements and backing when they needed political support. 

All truths, no lies detected. 

It still remains the strategy of Nikki Haley, Ron Desantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy of not upsetting the Trump fan base, after seeing what it did to Mike Pence (not that he had a chance) and has done to Christie's chances. 

I've never seen anything like this...


The men couldn't help themselves by giving away the obvious...Haley is rising fast among them. 

And truthfully, I can't blame them. As an independent or moderate voter, whatever you want to call me, Haley has routinely walked away from these awful debates as the candidate least unlikeable, and of course, with some understanding of where she stands of policy and political positioning. 

We saw that in this one as Desantis fired away at Haley 30 seconds into the debate, and Ramaswamy continued to take his low-brow (often personal?) shots at Haley. 

One of my favorite moments from this one is when she simply responded to another one of Ramaswamy's attacks with a simple, paraphrasing, I'm not even going to respond to that

It was the best line. And literally did more damage to Ramaswamy and his Trump-lite approach than it did for Haley who has held it together amongst the boys. 


My biggest complaint thus far throughout the meddling four debates has been the candidate's inability to walk through or explain their positioning on policies or topics. Often, it's done with a "humble brag" of what bill they've passed what they've done in their state, or what they would have done - and I get it. But often enough, the discourse has lacked depth and clear positioning. 

I found Chris Christie's approach on the mutilation of transgender mutilation to be a fine moment in this area. On the surface, it's a topic that conservatives would instantaneously shoot down as the group did. However, Christie explained himself, his position, and most importantly, the root of conservative politics which is indeed less government. 

“These jokers in Congress, it takes them three weeks to pick a speaker… and we’re going to put my children’s health in their hands?” Christie pointed out. “As a parent, this is a choice I get to make.”


Speaking of debate trends, Vivek Ramaswamy went from a charismatic and potentially mold-breaker in the first debate for the GOP to being unlikeable (just my opinion). 

From the constant yelling and interjection to this debate of a rapid onslaught of conspiracy theories and allegations, even the Haley insults, it often feels like he's cosplaying Donald Trump. 

After all, if you want Trump in office, wouldn't you just vote for well, Trump? 

I'm very confused by it all, his rise, and his supposed candidacy. 

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