The First GOP Debates Happened, But Who Dominated If Not Trump?

AF Branco /
AF Branco /

Trump was notably absent from the first GOP debates because he feels as though enough people know who he is and what he has to say. He chose to interview with Tucker Carlson, instead.

So, Fox News presented eight GOP candidates on a stage in Milwaukee, where they could begin discussing the future of the Republican Party.

These individuals included:

  • Mike Pence
  • Chris Christie
  • Nikki Haley
  • Ron DeSantis
  • Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Tim Scott
  • Asa Hutchinson
  • Doug Burgum

While all of these individuals qualified in one way or another, most of them aren’t even a blip in the polls. In fact, when you take Trump out of the mix (who is still responsible for about 40 to 50% of the polling), you’ve only got three who are worth mentioning – Pence, Ramaswamy, and DeSantis. Even then, there are a lot of questions.

Still, we have a long way to go before we have to stand in a polling booth, so the candidates have plenty of time to move up (or drop out).

If you listen to the New York Times, Nikki Haley was the clear winner of the debate. They felt that DeSantis didn’t even try to get a good debate going and Ramaswamy was either a “love-it-or-hate-it performance” with his level of divisiveness.

Now, the BBC claims that Vivek Ramaswamy was the winner of the debate. They commented, “With a broad smile and a quick tongue, he frequently seemed to be the only candidate on the stage who was enjoying himself.” To see him do well isn’t surprising since he isn’t a career politician – and he recently stole second in the polls away from DeSantis.

CNN wasn’t too convinced, though, calling him a “stand-in for the former president.”

However, does CNN name a winner? No. Instead, they stick to name-calling and have decided that everyone had a lackluster performance.

We’re not sure who the winner is. There wasn’t a “clear” winner in any category. However, as the only female on the stage, it was fun to watch Haley hold her own. At one point, as Ramaswamy began talking about how the US has been supporting Ukraine, Haley told him, “You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows.”

She’s right, and if no one else is going to point it out, it’s a good thing that she has. Does that mean she’ll start to rise in the polls? Let’s hope so. She deserves a chance – and even the New York Times’s David French had the intelligence to say that, “If there’s any life left in the old G.O.P., Haley gives it hope.”