“This night will not go quietly” the commercials from CNN for its upcoming debate promise. With the Rocky Balboa fighting music in the background, the commercials look more like ads for a rematch between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao rather than a political broadcast.
There are a lot of things to look for in the debate that will be airing this evening on CNN, but one the most important is probably CNN itself. A network that is struggling to compete with FOX News’ high ratings, CNN would love to use tonight to prove that they should not be counted out as a network, and they are pulling out all the stops to equal or even surpass FOX’s twenty-four million viewers for its debate. On CNN, for the last few days, there has been a bar counting down the time until the debate, and while FOX mainly went after the candidates themselves, with the hand-raising question and Megyn Kelly taking on Trump, Jack Tapper and company plan on letting the candidates go at each other.
Known for being a left-of-center network, and knowing that no matter what they do, being CNN (actually, just not being FOX would have been enough) will cause cries of foul play and bias in the moderating, CNN has brought Hugh Hewitt, a conservative catholic talk show host, along for the ride, to hopefully mitigate some of the accusations.
|Fiorina, former executive of Hewlett-Packard will be making her debut on|
the big stage this evening.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Hewitt is supposed to keep things too calm, Jack Tapper commenting only days ago that he (Tapper) can barely control his own five year old kid, so trying to control a 55 year old governor who thinks he should run the world is sort of out of the picture.
But enough about the network, let’s get to the fighters, er…I mean candidates.
This time there will be eleven candidates in the main event at 8 eastern, and four in the smaller debate. (Perry dropped out, Gilmore won’t be there.) The new face on the big stage is of course Carly Fiorina, who did so well in the smaller debate last time that she has been surging in the polls ever since. Mainly, tonight, Fiorina is likely to be worried about proving she has the right to be on the big stage. There is also the story over the comment of Trump talking about her face which seems very likely to be brought up.
As for the main reason most people are tuning in, Donald Trump, expect a few choice Trump lines, although it seems doubtful he would be revealing anything big this evening in the ways of policy plans unveiled by him.
For the man who will be next to him, Ben Carson, who is suddenly surging nationally, Carson seems likely to be somewhat more energetic this evening then in the past, as he has been more combative with his rivals, especially Trump, in the last few weeks. You can expect that those two will go head to head at least once during the evening.
There is also Ted Cruz, senator from Texas and now the only Texan running now that his former governor, Rick Perry has dropped out. It seems most likely that Cruz will be asked about the Iran deal, seeing as the final chance for a vote on it is tomorrow. Cruz has been doing well in the polls recently, and could use the evening, if he plays his cards well, to suddenly jump up to where Ben Carson is right now. Just remember how many people will be watching.
|Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, this could well be his final chance|
As for the other man who is seeking to garner the Latino vote, Marco Rubio, while having a stellar debate performance last time, Rubio is still having difficulty gaining traction beneath the shadow of Trump Tower. He may, however, manage to capture some establishment support by being the last “reasonable” man standing when all those inside the beltway are gone. He should do well again tonight.
John Kasich, governor of Ohio, has already done irreparable self-inflicted damage on his campaign by supporting gay marriage, something that will get him nowhere in the all important south.
There are Walker and Bush, both are men being shunted to the side, and at this rate neither will make it to Iowa. Bush has promised to come out swinging, but it has never worked in the past, and does not seem likely to work now. Walker can expect to be asked about his recent statements about abolishing federal labor unions and maybe about his idea to build a wall with Canada.
And finally Chris Christie and Rand Paul, both of them doing poorly. Christie being hampered by the fact that this is the anti-establishment year, as well as his own Bridgegate scandal. He is a man very much headed for the exits, and his podium is on the far outside already. As for Paul, this is his final chance. Tomorrow he has a money bomb, and so far he hasn’t been pulling in much cash. It seems likely that unless he has a stellar, unbelievable debate performance, and then rides that tomorrow to raise a huge amount of funds, Paul will also be on his way out of the race. His campaign is struggling visibly, campaign updates sounding more and more whiney and desperate.
All of this will of course be happening at the Reagan Library here in California, against the backdrop of the man whose famous 11th commandment was “Never speak ill of a fellow Republican.” Expect that rule to be broken many times over the course of the evening.
Andrew C. Abbott