By Duke Staff
Ok, we admit it: We at The Duke didn’t get the chance to watch and dissect Wednesday night’s primetime Republican debate on CNN.
With our press deadline fast approaching, there simply wasn’t enough time to watch, react and write. But honestly – did we even need to?
We all knew what was going to happen in the second debate between the 11 top candidates of the GOP, even before the circus rolled onto the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
We knew Donald Trump would be there – sporting his trademark smirk and comb over – no longer deemed an out-of-touch billionaire whose 15 minutes of fame is due up soon, but instead a serious candidate for president.
We knew that Trump, who is still ahead in early polls, would say things like, “Immigration? Let’s just build a wall instead,” followed by a slew of sexist insults toward the lone female on stage, Carly Fiorina. Then, in a “shocking” change of heart, he’d try to come off as a sensible guy who is quite serious about pursuing the presidency.
We knew that Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon climbing in polls, would point out several times that he isn’t a politician, and that he isn’t going to trade barbs. But we also knew that his mild-mannered temperament won’t be good for TV ratings, so few questions will be directed his way.
We knew that Jeb Bush – or “Mr. Low Energy,” as Trump calls him – would come out firing, but not because he’s suddenly charismatic and anti-establishment. It’d be because he wants to show the Republican faithful that he’s not as robotic as Hillary Clinton.
We knew that the rest of the field – most importantly Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio – would seize every opportunity to talk, and talk, and talk some more, in hopes of capturing headlines. But we knew they wouldn’t sound sincere.
And we knew, most importantly, that several times the candidates would be asked for specific policy proposals, but would have none to share. They’d have plenty of lofty ideas, though, and plenty of negative things to say about the Obama administration.
We at The Duke certainly didn’t expect a serious discussion on pressing national issues. Hours before the debate, we knew it’d be just another media spectacle, void of any real substance, or any real information for voters.
It’s not just a Republican thing, either. It’s a “politics” thing. Candidates are much too focused on polling data and headlines, when they should be focused on outlining their ideas to the public.
Wednesday’s debate was the perfect platform for that.
But we knew it’d be nothing special.