Op-ed: No more disastrous debates

by Elad Hakim

Photo: Alamy

In the American political context, the purpose of a debate is to inform Americans about the various candidates’ positions relating to issues of national and international importance and to show Americans how the candidates come across on stage. A debate is an “audition,” so to speak.

To date, there have been two GOP debates leading up to the 2024 Republican primary. The first occurred in Milwaukee, while the second took place in Simi Valley, California. President Donald J. Trump, who is obliterating all Republican candidates, did not appear at either debate (for good reason).

Both debates were a disaster. As reported by Politico, the first debate drew 12.8 million viewers, while the first GOP debate in August 2015, which included Trump, garnered 24 million viewers. According to The Hill, Trump said the following on Truth Social, “The Debate on FoxNews had a hard time with the proverbial RATINGS. It was one of the lowest rated EVER, if not THE LOWEST. It showed that many of those participating are “second tier” and merely ‘pretenders to the throne’.”

Unsurprisingly, Trump’s interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which aired simultaneously with the debate, did exceptionally well.

The second debate fared no better. According to CNBC, the second debate only drew 9.3 million viewers, which, according to Nielsen ratings, “represents — by a significant margin — the lowest TV audience for any Republican presidential debate since the start of the 2016 cycle, when Trump first became a candidate.” The ratings crash is not surprising given Trump’s absence and the fact that the candidates spent much of their time shouting in unison and/or above one another in hopes of being heard.

Since the day Trump announced his reelection bid, he has led all Republican contenders. This lead has only grown since then. According to a recent Morning Consult poll, Trump is at 61 percent, 48 percentage points more than his nearest polling rival. Trump’s lead has grown despite the politicized, weaponized indictments and the efforts to remove his name from the ballot.

Trump’s dominance over the field of so-called contenders is clear. If the debates are an audition, Trump won the “role” long ago. Americans know where he stands, trust that he will fulfill his promises and drain the swamp, know that he is the only one tough enough to push back against the Democrats, RINO Republicans, and members of the Establishment, and know that he can get to work on day one and without the need to “learn the ropes.”

While a third GOP debate is scheduled in Miami next month, the debate is a waste of time and money. The American people know the players by now. They know where they stand (though some candidates conveniently change their minds based on what Trump says) and are quite familiar with their temperaments and personalities, good or bad.

The debate is unnecessary. Rather than putting money and resources into a third debate (especially after the first two debates were a disaster), the GOP should cancel the debate and use the money to fight against the Democrats.

In a recent statement, Trump campaign Senior Advisors Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita stated, “The Republican National Committee should immediately cancel the upcoming debate in Miami and end all future debates in order to refocus its manpower and money on preventing Democrats’ efforts to steal the 2024 election.”

In other words, no more debates.

Mr. Hakim is an attorney and columnist. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, and other online publications. He is also a regular guest on OANN’s Tipping Point, and has appeared on Newsmax, Steadfast and Loyal Podcast with Allen West, The Dave Weinbaum Show, and Real America’s Voice. The views expressed herein are the author’s own and do not constitute legal advice.   

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