Diary

Pre-Debate Prognostication and Pontification

It’s going to be an interesting debate tonight. Here are some of my predictions.

Carly Fiorina will get a big bump after the debate from her performance, and a good portion of that support will come from Donald Trump. Trump supporters will see that Carly is an alternative that they can get behind. Here’s why.

Like Trump, she is an outsider. Like Trump she’s tough and will not take any guff, whether from fellow candidates or the moderators. Like Trump, she will be seen as a leader.

Unlike Trump, she will demonstrate that she already has command of the issues and is ready to take office. Unlike Trump, her responses will be measured and laser focused, not off-the-cuff, rambling generalities. Unlike Trump she will act like an adult if someone attacks her, responding to their argument, and not with an ad hominem attack.

Ben Carson is harder to predict. If he can do a good job with the issues and doesn’t get tripped up on foreign policy, he’ll get some Trump supporters by virtue of his outsider status, although his soft-spoken style may not win over those who like Trump’s bravado. He won’t do well if questions come up that show he’s not yet ready to take office, and I’m afraid they will.

[mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] will play nice with Trump. He wants to be the one who Trump supporters flock to when Trump implodes or it becomes obvious he could never win the general election. This is most likely why Cruz hasn’t criticized Trump and why he was quick to ask him to partner at the Iran nuke event. While Cruz is not an outsider, he has a record of standing up for his beliefs and the beliefs of those who put him in office.

No surprises from the others. Mike Huckabee will be the most comfortable and have the most memorable lines. Chris Christie will talk tough, which will appeal to many. Bush will look like he’s trying too hard and will fade into the background. Scott Walker, [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] and John Kasich will struggle to get their message out on a crowded stage. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] will get his message out, but it will not resonate with most considering the foreign policy and military challenges we face.

While I’m not sure about those other predictions, there are two things I am certain of. After the debate all the candidates and their surrogates will be in the spin room talking about how they won the night. And, there will be one person who will believe his own spin, no matter how poorly he does.