Thursday night’s Fox News GOP debate had all the makings of a classic showdown with tough questions, candidates sharply criticizing each other, and the moderators and even candidates whining about how they were being treated. And Trump wasn’t even there.
Mountains of words have been written about how Trump has changed the campaign landscape. I was originally dismissive of Trump, figuring he would flame out in due time, but have grudgingly come to the realization that there are just enough Republican voters who simply don’t care about ideology and eat up the showmanship and blunt talk of the entertainer/businessman.
And that kind depresses me. I’d like to think that voters have a better sense of decency. If there is one word I associate with Trump it is indecent. He is vulgar, ugly, mean, misogynistic, and completely in love with himself. It appears that there is nothing this guy would not do or say to get ahead.
It doesn’t make the American political process look very attractive when someone like Trump has the kind of support that polls indicate he has. I truly hope the polling is wrong. This presidential race would be so much better without Trump in the mix.
What struck me as I watched the debate: how much it didn’t matter that Trump was not on the stage. It was a robust discussion of policy and how the candidates would approach various issues. It was an adult conversation. It was our democratic process on display, and I was proud to be an American on Thursday night.
All that said, I’m truly torn on how to handicap the Iowa caucus. I don’t really know whether Cruz or Trump will win, but I think it will be pretty close. Rubio will come in a strong third and Rand Paul will way over-perform his polling numbers in Iowa.
Iowa can do this nation a huge favor by rejecting Trump and stopping his momentum. That could reset the course of the nominating process, give us our sanity back, and send the indecent proposal that is Trump to the dustbin of history.