2015 Final GOP Debate Recap

The final GOP debate before the New Year wrapped up last night and we saw Chris Christie back on the main stage, Donald Trump promising to build a “great wall,” and a battle between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Overall, it was a rather tame debate. I think if you were still up in the air about which candidate you support, this debate didn’t do much to convince you. I also think it’s safe to say that at this point, after the 5th debate, that you probably already have a nominee who you want to see as the president and further debates won’t radically make you change your mind.  Here’s a recap of last night’s debate and a run down about the candidates who might actually have a shot at this whole presidency thing.

Chris Christie appeared on the main stage again after pushing himself into the headlines recently, but didn’t give an outstanding performance, certainly not enough to convince potential supporters to back him or vote for him. He can hold his own in a debate, that is for sure, and his experience makes him more qualified for the job than many of his fellow candidates. Christie’s glaring problem is that he mentions his law background and his home state every other sentence. Being proud is one thing, but it seems to me that his only claim to fame is New Jersey, but that ride can only last so long. I don’t think he will be earning more support any time soon.

Carly Fiorina garnered a lot of positive attention after her first debate, and after that was catapulted onto the main stage. After that, she was slowly climbing in the polls, but now she’s stalled and no one seems to be taking her seriously. I’m all for girl power, but she’s playing the feminism card way too much. She’s focusing too much on the fact that she’s a woman, and less on her policies and ideals. For that reason, I don’t see her going anywhere fast.

I was a huge fan of Ben Carson early in the election season, but since then I’ve stopped shouting it from the rooftops. Carson was promising because he’s a regular guy, he isn’t a politician, and he’s incredibly smart; those things can’t be debated. Since his first shining debate performance, it seems like he’s been on an apology tour after a series of disparaging comments. He’s proved time and time again that he has no knowledge about foreign affairs or any key policy issues. At last night’s debate, he even turned down moderator Wolf Blitzer’s request for him to interject into the conversation between Rubio and Cruz, which further proved to me that’s he’s still incredibly uncomfortable speaking on such issues.

Donald Trump is still leading by a pretty significant margin in the polls, but Cruz and Rubio are gaining quickly. It’s honestly shocking to me that Trump has lasted this long simply by his racist commentary and ignorance on foreign policy. His debate performance wasn’t worth writing home about, but the GOP is starting to squirm when they realize Trump really could be their candidate. They even resorted to trying to convince Mitt Romney to throw his hat into the ring again, but he vehemently declined.

The GOP’s best bet is either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. They both had an outstanding debate performance and constantly demonstrate that they have a firm understanding of government and foreign policy and the right personality to run the country. They differ on some principles, but they are the most closely aligned with conservative ideals. It’s rumored that Hillary Clinton’s camp is most nervous about Rubio, probably because he has the potential to steal minority votes from the Democrats.

Why should we trust Hillary Clinton?

The news headlines are damning. Polls show that most of America, including Democrats, don’t feel they can trust Hillary. Pundits debate over her emails, her public persona, and Benghazi. We know we can’t trust her, yet some liberals are drawn to her and have rallied behind her through the scandals. She has the potential to be the first woman president, but we shouldn’t vote for someone just to change the face of history.

Hillary makes promises, so many that we have heard before. Things can change in this country. The economy can thrive again. Women will have equal rights and equal wages once and for all, shattering the glass ceiling. We’ll tax the rich, and give to the poor, like a modern day Robin Hood. Hillary spins a fantasy that sounds so good it hypnotizes liberals, even those who have a nagging feeling that she cannot be trusted, especially as the leader of the Free World.

At the first Democratic debate, when posed with a question about Hillary’s emails, Bernie Sanders exclaimed that “America is sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” He was met with raucous applause and a nod of approval from Hillary.

I get his angle, but American should care about Hillary’s emails. Sure, we hear about it a lot, but for good reason. She secretly set up a private email server and exchanged classified information. Not only is it sneaky, it is dangerous. That email could easily be hacked by terrorists and enemies of the U.S. since it isn’t protected by the government’s security. The FBI continues investigating, which should be a sign that it isn’t just a political attack. This is on top of the Benghazi scandal in which she is a key player.

Let’s even put aside the current scandals she is a part of. What about her continuously contradicting views and stances? It was only in 2008 during her bid for president that Hillary went on record saying that marriage is between a man and a women, and that sanctity should not be messed with. Now Hillary is ecstatic that gay marriage is legal and is an ally to the LGBT community. 2008 Hillary was a supporter of the Second Amendment, and now she is pushing for gun control. 2008 Hillary was a supporter of the Iraq war, and she was opposed to issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants. 2015 Hillary is a friend to immigrants.

How can we trust someone who can so quickly change their mind about the most important issues facing our country? Will she change her mind again? There’s no way for us to know.

Why Did Walker Drop Out?

It’s been a busy week for the GOP. First, Scott Walker drops out of the run for president. A few days later John Boehner announces he will be resigning as Speaker of the House, right on the tails of the Pope’s visit to Congress.

What exactly is going on in the Tea Party? Why are two notable figures stepping out of the spotlight?

In Scott Walker’s case, Donald Trump is a large part of his reason for dropping out. Well, at least that’s part of his remarks when he made the announcement that he will be gracefully bowing out of the run for the White House. In the same breath, he urged most of the other candidates to do the same so that they could rally behind the second strongest candidate to more successfully take on Trump. Trump’s tactics are unheard of, even in politics, and other Republicans look at him as an antiestablishment knuckle-head who isn’t serious about foreign policy or many of the key issues plaguing America. Walker’s remarks aren’t surprising considering the other candidates have become more vocal about their disdain for Trump. It doesn’t make it any less surprising that he would suddenly give up.

Aside from hoping to unite the other candidates against the Big Bad Wolf, Walker was also dropping in the polls. At the start of campaign season, Walker was widely considered as a serious contender for the White House; but this was before the Trump Show started airing. Since then, Walker has trouble finding his footing and making his voice heard. He was drowned out by Trump’s one liners about Mexicans and women, and overshadowed by the momentum of fresh faces like Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. I would even venture to say that most Americans wouldn’t be able to pick Walker out of a line-up.

Then there were his debate performances. Walker missed opportunities to make a point on key issues that would hit the press by sunrise. Instead, Trump, Bush, Carson, Fiorina, and Rubio were the widely talked about candidates, with a sprinkling of Chris Christie. These were two missed opportunities for Walker and the polling numbers reflected that.

Trump still has the top spot, with Fiorina and Carson neck in neck and gaining rapidly. Walker is being reasonable and must have started to realize that his chances of occupying the Oval Office were fading away.

Who will be next? Only time can tell, but I would predict that one by one, the other candidates who aren’t in the top 5 will begin dropping like flies as time wares on and we inch closer to choosing one candidate to represent our party. Except, maybe, for Rand Paul. He might go kicking and screaming.

Highlights from the GOP Debate

The GOP debate last night was a lot to digest. We had a much better understanding of the candidates going into this debate than we did the first time, and we were on the lookout for notable responses to actions that have been making headlines.

We heard tales from candidates past, strong stances on the Iran deal and Kim Davis, insults about appearance, and much more. Last night’s debate was chaos overall. Not because of the candidates, but because of the moderators. CNN hosted the debate this time around, and did a poor job of keeping the candidates on track and reducing the immature mudslinging. It felt all over the place, with lack of direction, and it took over a half hour before questions were posed about real issues facing our country.

The beginning of the debate was the Trump show. Candidates were asked if they agreed or disagreed with Trump’s comments, and if they thought Trump would be able to control the nuclear weapons. It felt more like The Donald debate rather than the GOP debate. Luckily, John Kasich couldn’t take it anymore either and pointed out that voters are more interested in hearing the candidates’ stances on key issues. He’s right, we are. Whew.

Carly Fiorina was an addition to this debate, and with good reason. She was the breakout star of the early debate the first time around, and she more than earned a spot with the top tier candidates. It’s not necessarily that Fiorina has extremely opposing views to the other candidates, but rather her conviction and execution. She was able to take on Trump without stooping to his level, and perfectly articulated her stances, views, and ideas if she were president. She also rattled off key players in Iran and Russia and showcased an advanced understanding in foreign policy. As we remember from Trump’s radio interview last week, this is his biggest weakness. Fiorina was the clear standout of this debate.

Donald Trump did what he does best. He insulted candidates based on their appearances, accused them of being controlled by the money, and talked about his vast wealth. He has low lows and high highs. In response to Fiorina calling out his previous comments about her looks, he retorted but saying she is beautiful, a move that was surprising for him. He had some back and forth with Rand Paul and pointed out that he never attacked Paul on his looks, even though there was “a lot of subject matter to work with.” He was largely silent during the discussions about foreign policy, and didn’t chime in for about 30 minutes. Trump isn’t comfortable talking about anything other than immigration. His debate performance probably won’t hurt him in the polls though; his supporters seem loyal to a fault.

Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush stood out as front-runners of the debate. Rubio’s charisma and stern stance on policies helps him every time. He is a strong speaker and commands the room. Bush came back from a lackluster first debate, and was more prepared and pointed with his responses and answers to key questions voters have about electing another Bush. He stood out from his brother and father, and had a few standout moments.

Chris Christie did far better in this debate than the last. Last time, he staggered and left voters unsure of his stances on key issues. This time, Christie positioned himself as the adult on the stage, and the voice of the middle class. He articulated his positions much more clearly, which voters appreciate.

Ben Carson remained himself but staying out of the back and forth unfolding around him, and only spoke when completely necessary. He might have missed a few good opportunities for pointed words against Trump and other candidates, but he never took the bait. This could either help or hurt him. He could be overshadowed, or he can continue to climb towards Trump as his supporters appreciate his unorthodox approach to politics.

I think Rand Paul has to be crowned the loser in this debate. In his typical fashion, he came off as a schoolyard bully, attacking Trump every chance he could, but never took the opportunity to point out his own strengths. At this point, Paul comes off as the fly you continuously swat away from the pie but won’t give up.

What you need to know about tonight’s CNN GOP debate

Tonight is the second GOP Debate (Republican Presidential debate) and it will be airing prime-time from sunny California and will feature 11 of the top candidates, this time including Carly Fiorina who has been making more of a name for herself since the first debate. Let’s take a look at what to expect tonight and see where our candidates stand.

Donald Trump is still leading in every poll and has been the talk of the town since announcing his candidacy. He continues to speak in front of hundreds or thousands of supporters, and hasn’t bitten his tongue when it comes to immigration or any other hot topic issues. Nothing seems to be slowing Trump down, even disparaging comments about women or Mexicans don’t seem to lower his numbers. Trump’s biggest problem is his understanding of facts. When questioned further about foreign policy, he stammered and confused key players in the world political field.

Ben Carson is climbing steadily in the polls and seems to be the biggest threat to Donald Trump. He is merely a few points behind Trump in key states and has garnered support from unlikely places for a GOP candidate, including a mostly blue California. Carson is very intelligent and perfectly articulates his views and ideas. What seems to be Carson’s main problem is his quiet demeanor, and Trump has already been on the attack saying that he lacks energy, also adding that the president would need to be more forceful.

Jeb Bush is experienced and yet he is struggling in this campaign. He is walking the line between ignoring Trump and using Trump’s tactics against him. Bush’s poll numbers are lower than initially expected, and he has shifted his image since his campaign began, to more directly fire back at Trump and to show more of his personality. Bush’s new campaign video features him speaking Spanish and showcases a rare appearance from his wife, who is a Mexican immigrant. This could be the key to helping Bush gain Latino votes as Trump has been vocal about his disdain for Mexicans.

Carly Fiorina will get her opportunity to face Trump tonight at the debate for the first time. Trump has already lashed out against Fiorina by attacking her looks. Fiorina has exceeded expectation so far, but has plateaued in the polls. Tonight could make or break her campaign.

Marco Rubio hasn’t been too vocal on the campaign trail lately, but is still considered a viable contender for the GOP bid. Rubio’s background and his charisma are what has helped him gain thus far, but he has struggled to break out from under the shadow Donald Trump has been casting on the other candidates. His performance tonight can help him get better footing in this race.

The CNN Republican Primary Debate will air tonight at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. The first round debate that will feature the remaining candidates who have at least 1% in the polls will air at 6 p.m. ET.

Why does Kim Davis still have a job?

Today, Kim Davis returned to work. You might remember Kim Davis as the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses because it is against her religion. Her tantrum landed her in jail for five days for refusing to do her job. Makes sense. She is a worker of the court and cannot impress her views on others, especially by refusing to do her job.

But now she is back at work. She spent all of Monday in her office with the door closed and the blinds drawn, only after making a statement to the press of course. Christian conservatives have called Davis a “hero” for standing up for her beliefs.

And that’s great. We live in a country that allows us to believe in whatever we would like, and say whatever we want. But this isn’t just another opinionated citizen. She is refusing to do her job.

In her statement Monday morning before retreating to her office for the day, she said,

“I want the whole world to know … If any [deputy clerk] feels that they must issue an unauthorized license to avoid being thrown in jail, I understand their tough choice, and I will take no action against them. However, any unauthorized license that they issue will not have my name, my title or my authority on it. Instead, the license will state that they are issued pursuant to a federal court order. I don’t want to have this conflict. I don’t want to be in the spotlight, and I certainly don’t want to be a whipping post; I am no hero. I just want to serve my neighbors quietly without violating my conscience. And so this morning, I am forced to fashion a remedy that reconciles my conscience with Judge Bunning’s orders. Effective immediately and until an accommodation is provided by those with the authority to provide it, any marriage license issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me.”

This is the part that gets me. She is returning to work, and will be paid, but is still not doing her job.

As anyone who has ever held a job knows, if you refuse to do your job, you would be terminated. This is like ordering a burger at a restaurant and being told you can’t have a burger because your server is a vegetarian. It’s not about religious beliefs or political views. It’s about doing your job.

So why is Kim Davis is still employed? Is it because she has become somewhat of a martyr? Only time will tell.