And then There were Eight! (With one Missing)



Republican candidates are vying for the opportunity to challenge the incumbent President, Joe Biden, in the 2024 elections.


Elections fever in the US is on the way. With charges against Trump growing on a quarterly basis, all the republican’s candidates must be hoping for a guilty find­ing in the upcoming trials and fancy their chances of being cho­sen republican to pit themselves against the sitting president Joe Biden.


Now the field has been opened up for public to see, on 23 August, during the first Re­publican debate, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There were altogeth­er 8 candidates showing off their credentials on why they should be the nominee for the Repub­lican party in November 2024 elections. Yet the elephant in the room was clearly missing. The presumptive nominee Donald Trump was missing from the debate. Trump was distinctly leading the opinion polls every­where, ahead by 30-40 points from the second placed person. He decided to appear in an inter­view with the disgraced ex-Fox anchor Tucker Carlson, the in­terview being aired at the same time as the debate itself.


The ambitious eight include …

Mike Pence: the former VP within Trump administration.

Nicky Haley: former gov­ernor of South Carolina and ex- UN ambassador under Trump administration.

Chris Christie: former two-time governor of New Jersey.

Asa Hutchinson: former governor of Arkansas.

Tim Scott: Senator from South Carolina.

Doug Burgum: Governor of North Dakota.

Ron DeSantis: Governor of Florida.

Vivek Ramaswamy: A mul­ti-millionaire businessman from Cincinnati, Ohio.


Will the real slim shady please stand up!

Obviously, the guy who can talk fast and talk over others, would normally be the one who prevail. And this award went to Ramaswamy, even though majority of the statements he made are either false or half-truths. Putting him right in the centre of the stage also made him stand out compared to those being place in the periphery.


Who might disappear from later debates?

As in previous primaries, some of the candidates dropped out along the way on second and third debates, or before reaching the first primary poll in New Hampshire in January. The likely candidates for that honour include Doug Burgum, Tim Scott and Asa Hutchinson. Doug Burgum’s brand name is largely unknown at the national level. So is Asa Hutchinson’s. Both of their records are below par compared to the others, to induce a substantial following at national level. Tim Scott lost his chances to sound and appear presidential during the debate, talking mainly about himself and his fate, rather than showing how he is on top of the issues when challenged.


Note Worthy Issues and Re­sponses

Anyone in the world listen­ing to the debate would be dumb­founded after they heard that all eight do not believe that the climate changes the world is fac­ing now is man-made. Sea level is rising. Ice caps at north and south poles are melting. All sci­entists agreed that it is caused by global warming, caused by human activities. Yet, the repub­lican standard bearers as usual, refused to believe in science.


The next issue was even more disturbing. The candidates were asked, if they are still will­ing to support Donald Trump, if he is convicted of the charg­es indicted upon him so far. All but two candidates raised their hands. What has happened to the party of law and order! What has happened to the foundations of the democracy that no one is above the law! Kudos to Christie and Asa for being man enough to stand up against a crook who became the President. Contrast to Nixon - the President who became a crook.


The would-be king is not the king after all

DeSantis, polling right be­hind Donald Trump, albeit 20-30 points, prior to the debate, total­ly did not look presidential at all during the debate. His fake smile is too conspicuous, his relent­less evasion of straight forward questions from the moderators are excruciating to watch. Even for the question mentioned in the above paragraph, he raised his hand only after he noticed the other four or five on his left raised theirs, with as little con­viction as he got!


Who are still in the ring?

Pence came out reasonably ok, as both Christie et al con­firmed his correct judgement and decision not to overturn 2020 presidential elections results.


Christie still got the chance with his poll numbers rising in New Hampshire, falling right be­hind Trump. He stood up for the truth with conviction and went head-to-head with Trump, de­spite the boos he received from the republican crowds.


Nicky Haley also showed off her credentials in foreign poli­cy arena in a tete-a-tete with Ramaswamy and came out on top.


What is next?

We would have second de­bate on 27 September at Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley, California, followed by the third towards the end of the year in Tuscaloosa in Alabama. We have to wait and see if Trump can stay out of these debates forever, without fatalistic consequences on his poll numbers.