Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 8 Candidates; 1 notable no-show, and the beginning of a marathon campaign to see who is crowned the 47th President of the United States of America.
In case you missed the first GOP debate last week, read on for a non-partisan, objective take on the night’s winners and losers.
The man who hadn’t run for office prior to this dominated the pack. He was quick on his feet, articulate, and didn’t flinch when rivals tried cornering him for his lack of experience. If you didn’t know who he was or how to pronounce his name, after last week’s performance, you definitely do now.
If Ramaswamy can continue to exhibit the confidence he did in Wisconsin, the man becomes a viable threat to challenge for the White House. The Harvard graduate was having fun on stage. For someone with no experience, he looked like a seasoned veteran among his peers.
Ramaswamy doesn’t look like most politicians we’ve seen in our time [his family traces back to India]. However, maybe that’s just what the doctor ordered. Many Americans are fed up with lifelong politicians who think of only themselves.
As far as his backstory, Ramaswamy was born in Cincinnati and founded Roviant Sciences, a pharmaceutical company, in 2014. Upon announcing his bid for President, he publicly released 20 years of his individual tax returns and called upon his rivals to do the same. Transparency defined.
Many of Ramaswamy’s views are controversial, particularly in today’s woke world when right-leaning attitudes are oftentimes painted as ignorant or hateful.
Some of his more polarizing opinions: Ramaswamy promises to pardon Trump if elected President. He overtly opposes abortion and has called it murder. He supports state-level six-week abortion bans, with exceptions for rape, incest, and danger to the woman’s life.
When was the last time you heard any politician other than Trump share such controversial views?
The former Vice President whose political career speaks for itself, hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire. His early poll numbers have been underwhelming. Nonetheless, Pence was poised for much of the evening. He scored major points with his unapologetic stance on the January 6th, 2021 happenings.
Pence confidently stated he put the Constitution first when he refused to throw out the election results at Mr Trump’s orders. His candor surrounding his former running mate even garnered the respect of his rivals during last week’s debate.
Throughout his career, Pence has served as congressman, governor, and vice-president. He has the experience necessary to be Commander in Chief but many pro-Trump supporters can’t stand him. The disdain from potential Republican voters hurts his campaign but if we’re judging his performance in Wisconsin, the former governor of Indiana scores a respectable B.
LOSER: DE SANTIS
What a difference a year makes.
Once the front-runner to take on Democrats in 2024, the governor of Florida looked out of sorts for much of the night. Just hours after the Milwaukee debate, one of DeSantis’ facial expressions became a viral GIF on social media for all the wrong reasons. DeSantis looked uncomfortable on stage and struggled to fend off his rivals throughout the two-hour debate.
Though a disappointing showing overall, DeSantis had a few strong moments, particularly when he spoke about his own military service.
Nonetheless, his performance was nowhere near good enough to close the gap between him and Mr Trump. It’s gut-check time for DeSantis. Another showing like in Milwaukee and his bid for the GOP nomination could very well be up in smoke. Tough to imagine for the former poster boy of the Grand Old Party.
DON’T SLEEP ON HALEY
We’ve yet to see a woman take the Oval Office. However, the former South Carolina governor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations proved she’s a force to be reckoned with. For much of the evening, Haley exhibited poise, intelligence, and confidence when rivals came at her.
Haley has never lost a race for office. During last week’s debate, she didn’t mince words when criticizing the Republican Party’s historical support of Mr Trump.
“He is the most disliked politician in America. And there’s a cost for that, particularly when the time to cast a ballot rolls around.”
The former governor is outspoken and doesn’t balk when the threat of military action comes up. She’s been a staunch supporter of Ukraine and was even on record in favor of using military force in response to North Korean missile tests in 2017.
2024 will likely be a miss for Nicky Haley but don’t sleep on her political aspirations moving forward. She is smart, has held positions of influence, and isn’t hard on the eyes either.
The first Republican debate is in the rearview mirror with a couple of notable standouts and letdowns.
It’s still too early to anoint a clear-cut favorite for the Republican nomination. However, with more performances like last week’s in Milwaukee, Vivek Ramaswamy could topple what was once a two-horse race in Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis.
It will be interesting to see if the 45th President decides to show up to the next debate on September 27th at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institution in Simi Valley, California.
Should Trump choose to take on his rivals, nuke up some popcorn and brace yourselves for what will be surely must-watch television.
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