It is rather unfortunate that the World Series coincides with tonight’s Republican Presidential debate, as I am inclined to want to enjoy both, and I am sure that most will opt for the Series, but here is my attempt to fill my Kansas City friends in (and whoever else is inclined to read). My first post is a pre-debate analysis, and then I will follow-up with a post-debate summary from my vantage point.
Going into the debate, the large storyline and questions are whether the new frontrunner Ben Carson will withstand the likely withering attack that he will receive from Trump and potentially others. Will he be prepared with more specific policy proposals and thus ensure that he does not have the Hermann Cain outsider’s temporary moment in the limelight? Will CNBC ask more aggressive questions than we have seen before, forcing candidates to outline their positions and past statements and policies? Will Trump be more rehearsed with actual policy proposals to back his aggressive tone? Will his only current policy proposal (albeit a vaguely sketched out one) on tax reform withstand criticism? Will he have any other proposals outlined and will he know more about foreign affairs? Will Jeb Bush come across as more than the dull professor? Will Fiorina continue to dazzle the audience and will she stump Trump? Will Rubio continue his slow but steady ascent? Will anyone else rise to the challenge and separate themselves from being also-rans? Here are my predictions for the evening:
- Trump will attack Carson mercilessly. He will have something to talk about with his tax proposal, but the specifics will be vague. He will reiterate the belief that he can befriend Putin and solve the world’s challenges with the negotiating skills that he possesses. He will have done no significant research or updates to his positions since the last debate. His poll numbers will begin a moderate descent
- Bush will look finished and calls will grow for him to throw in the towel. His treasure chest will keep him in it for some time yet, however.
- Fiorina will be in Trump and Clinton attack mode. She will fluster Trump. Something about her presence and style, as much as it aided in the first round, will start to seem hectoring and grate this time around.
- Carson will wind up being out of his league and exposed as not knowing a lot. He has peaked and the debate will show it with newfound attacks and focus from the rest of the field and the moderators.
- Rubio will be polished and on point with limited talking time. He will be declared one of the night’s winners, and his numbers will continue to rise. He will benefit in the inevitable dropout of candidates that will occur in the next two months.
- Cruz will stare into the camera and bore us all with the minutiae of legal language that only a lawyer will love. Since Cruz is really running a race against the Republican Congress, Paul Ryan as Speaker of House imposing some since of order and effectiveness is his biggest threat to his race and success.
- Nobody else will break out of the pack, and it is likely that in the coming month that we see the dropping out of at least two of the likes of Paul, Christie, and/or Kasich. That is not to mention the second-tier candidates like Jindal and Graham, who I suspect will shortly throw in the towel as well.
My final prediction for the night is the Royals break a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 7th and hold on for a 5-3 win.