G. McConway
August 24, 2023

Team Trump Declares Debate Victory… Even Though Trump Did Not Attend

The debate had not even started yet and Trump’s surrogates were already popping champaign bottles.

Trump decided there was no benefit to attending the debate, nor did he want to sign the loyalty pledge, so it was only his top eight competitors that took the stage last night.

Before the debate even started, however, it was Trump who declared victory.

We Win!

Trump senior adviser Chris LaCivita stated, “President Trump has already won this evening’s debate because everything is going to be about him.

“Only President Trump has the policy ideas, the fortitude, and the polling to go head-to-head with Crooked Joe Biden in the general election. Republican voters recognize this, hence President Trump’s 62-16 lead in the GOP primary,” reported the Washington Examiner.

That is a small exaggeration of the average poll numbers, but it is not far off. FiveThirtyEight right now has Trump at 51.6 and DeSantis at 14.8, followed by Ramaswamy at 10.3 percent and the rest of the field under five percent.

A poll that wrapped up on August 24, however, has Trump at 39 and DeSantis at 21, followed by Ramaswamy (9), Scott (6), Pence and Haley (5), Christie at 3, and everyone else under one percent (Franklin & Marshall).

Trump’s campaign, as expected, also went after Fox News.

LaCivita stated, “You should also expect the Fox hosts to show an unnatural obsession with President Trump tonight, asking other Republican candidates over and over to react to President Trump’s policy positions.

“In fact, we will be tallying the number of times President Trump’s name is brought up, and his total ‘speaking time,’ even though he is not in attendance.

“When the other candidates do get a chance to speak, they will be a faint echo, or maybe even a copycat, of President Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda.

“That’s because President Trump’s first four years in office were the most consequential — and led to the best economy — in American history.”

Trump was barely mentioned in the debate, with Bret Baier only asking one question that was Trump-related.

Shockingly, most of the candidates avoided even bringing up Trump, instead having a fiery debate.

If I had to grade the overall performance, I would actually have the winner as Nikki Haley, as she was ferocious the few times she was asked a question and dressed down Vivek Ramaswamy like a child.

I thought DeSantis was respectable, but it was not a performance that would move the needle.

In third place, I had North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who I thought offered up some great answers and he held his own when attacked.

Chris Christie made some great points, but he needed Trump up there to have his moment.

Mike Pence and Tim Scott disappointed, especially Tim Scott. I had really high hopes for him even though I do not think he has a chance in hell of winning this race. I am just a fan of his, so I wanted him to have a moment, and it just never happened.

Pence seemed really hesitant early, and while he got going late, it was just not his night.

Asa Hutchinson was a complete non-factor and a waste of time.

At the bottom of the pack was Vivek Ramaswamy, who I thought came off arrogant, he plagiarized lines from Barack Obama, and it was as though he sounded like he was announcing something other than debating.

He tried to be Trump, making wisecracks at his opponents, but it just came off horrible.

All he could do was utter bullet points and when he got called out on substance, he was lost. What Nikki Haley did to him was just embarrassing for Ramaswamy.

I have stated all along his nothing more than a fraud, and I felt that he got exposed on Wednesday night.

Having said that, unless his polling numbers bottom out, he will still be in the next debate, which will be a smaller field.

The number of individual donors will rise and only those at three percent or higher will be invited, so Hutchinson and Burgum will be gone for sure, but Christie, Scott, Haley, and Pence would all be on the bubble right now.

So, this could be as many as seven, and as few as three depending on how the polls shape up over the next month.

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