Presidential debate

A dance to the music of polls — previewing tonight’s GOP debate

Featured image The GOP presidential debates are like a typical television series. The quality of actors doesn’t vary much from episode to episode, nor does the general nature of the characters they play. What varies is which character[s] they come into conflict with in a given episode. In the debate context, this variable is driven by which candidate poll data tells a candidate he (or she) must try to smack down. Early »

The winner of the Rubio-Cruz immigration fight? Donald Trump

Featured image Open warfare between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz broke out during Tuesday’s debate. The topics were (1) intelligence gathering to protect the national security and (2) immigration. As I wrote immediately after the debate, it’s the immigration clash that will count most. Both issues matter greatly to Republican voters, but disagreements about immigration matter more than disputes about particular data collection methods. This is why Rubio was desperate to claim »

Last night’s debate: some lowlights

Featured image The quality of last night’s debate was good overall, I thought. This is a talented field when it comes to debating. Even most of the candidates who were assigned to the undercard are fine debaters. There were, however, several low moments. I’ve already discussed the lowest — Donald Trump saying that the most important component of the (nuclear) triad is the nuclear part. Trump, though, is bullet-proof for the time »

Trump’s nuclear howler

Featured image Tonight, Donald Trump delivered the biggest howler of the presidential campaign (at least on the GOP side). But don’t worry, the topic was a trivial one — nuclear weapons. Hugh Hewitt asked Trump which part of our aging triad would be his priority as president. Trump answered, the nuclear side. But the triad, as Marco Rubio explained, is entirely nuclear. It consists of ships that can deliver nukes, planes that »

Tonight’s debate: more of the same but with a key difference

Featured image In a sense, tonight’s debate was more of the same. Once again, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Chris Christie excelled. Carly Fiorina was strong for the most part. Rand Paul defended his libertarian views well. Jeb Bush couldn’t quite kill, or even much injure, the Great White Whale. The Great White Whale spouted plenty of nonsense, but who cares, right? John Kasich was John Kasich. Ben Carson was again the »

Hillary Clinton: “I come from the ’60s, a long time ago”

Featured image I didn’t watch the Democrats’ presidential debate on Saturday night. There was too much good college football on tap, which probably helps explain why the Dems staged the event in this time slot. Or is it just coincidence that the debate, held in Iowa, conflicted with the game between undefeated Iowa and the University of Minnesota? This report from the Washington Post suggests that the Democrats were wise to hold »

Philosophy and the Republican debate

Featured image In the absence of gotcha questions at Tuesday’s debate, philosophy moved to the fore. It was trashed twice. In an exchange with Ted Cruz over a hypothetical bailout of Bank of America, John Kasich said: That’s the difference of being an executive. And let me just explain: when a bank is ready to go under, and depositors are getting ready to lose their life savings, you just don’t say we »

Google Poll: Trump won the debate; Bush lost it

Featured image In the view of Republican voters who watched last night’s debate, Donald Trump won the encounter and Marco Rubio finished second, according to a poll conducted by Google Consumer Surveys for the Wall Street Journal. Trump was the winner in the view of 28 percent of Republicans; Rubio in the eyes of 23 percent. After them come Ted Cruz (16 percent), Ben Carson (14 percent), Carly Fiorina (7 percent) and »

How’s this for objective political reporting?

Featured image The headline in today’s Washington Post (print edition) reads: “Debate exposes a rift within the GOP — rigid conservatism vs. a flexible pragmatism.” The story, by Philip Rucker and Ed O’Keefe, leads off this way: The leading Republican presidential candidates clashed sharply over immigration policy, military spending, and other intractable and emotional issues in a debate here Tuesday night, bringing into sharp relief the party’s fault line between rigid conservatism »

My take on tonight’s debate

Featured image I suspect that it’s “as you were” after tonight’s debate. In other words, not much about the race is likely to change, with the possible exception that Jeb Bush may be finished. Let’s do a candidate by candidate analysis. Donald Trump caught a “yuge” break because his first major topic (after a few words on the minimum wage) was immigration. This is the issue that helped propel him to the »

Outrageous media bias yields good night for most GOP candidates

Featured image Let’s start by identifying the two biggest losers of tonight’s GOP presidential debate. They are CNBC (along with the mainstream media in general) and Jeb Bush. But since CNBC isn’t running for president, I guess Bush is the biggest loser. The winners tonight were the candidates who most effectively trounced the blatantly biased CNBC moderators. Heading that list are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Honorable mention (and I do mean »

Why the Sanders-Clinton email love fest?

Featured image Bernie Sanders prides himself on not going negative in his political campaigns (whether it’s true that he never does, I do not know). So it wasn’t entirely surprising that he did not attack Hillary Clinton over her emails. The surprising thing, I thought at the time, was that Sanders made such a flamboyant point of not attacking Hillary. On reflection, though, I suppose that once he decided not to attack, »

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and the Danish model

Featured image The Democratic presidential debate featured a clash between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton over Denmark. Clinton reminded Sanders that “the United States isn’t Denmark. The Vermont socialist responded with a stirring defense of the Danish model. Both, for once, weren’t entirely wrong. Unlike the U.S., Denmark is moving in the opposite direction of socialism, and this represents a healthy model. Kevin Williamson of NRO provides the details: Denmark, like Sweden »

Whose lives matter to Democrats?

Featured image Anderson Cooper asked some good questions during tonight’s Democratic presidential debate. But the best question, I thought, came from a young black man, via Facebook. He wanted to know whether “Black lives matter or all lives matter.” Sanders had the first shot. He answered unequivocally, “Black lives matter.” Martin O’Malley was up next. He once landed in trouble for stating the audacious proposition that all lives matter. He wasn’t going »

Who won tonight’s debate?

Featured image I really shouldn’t be picking a winner of tonight’s debate inasmuch as (1) I didn’t watch all the way to the bitter end and (2) I don’t understand Democrats very well anymore. However, it seemed to me that Hillary Clinton was the winner. The only serious competition on the stage was Bernie Sanders. However, he took a beating early on over his lack of willingness to support extremist anti-gun legislation. »

What I learned from tonight’s debate

Featured image You can learn a lot from watching a Democratic presidential debate, or even two-thirds of one, which was all I could tolerate. For example, I learned that Bernie Sanders honeymooned in the Soviet Union. Did you know that? Sanders was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war. I knew that. But tonight he said that he doesn’t oppose war in general, and took conscientious objector status because of his opposition »

How Fox News and CNN screwed Scott Walker

Featured image Before we complete the post-mortems on Scott Walker’s campaign, I want to note how unfairly he was treated during the debates. According to Nate Silver, Walker spoke for only 13.7 minutes in the two debates. This was the the least for any candidate on the main stage in both events. It was less than half the time Donald Trump spoke. It was ten minutes less than Jeb Bush spoke. It »