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Tags: debate | trump | haley | christie | ramaswamy | desantis

Experts: Trump Wins Debate Again in Absentia

John Gizzi By Thursday, 07 December 2023 12:27 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Wednesday's Republican presidential debate, the fourth of the year, was by far the best, a group of experts who spoke to Newsmax agreed.

The group said that each of the four candidates shined at different times in the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, forum. But they also agreed that, as in the past three debates, former President Donald Trump was the winner simply by not being there.

"Trump won again," said Gerard Gibert, Mississippi's top-rated radio talk show host. "For the first time, the candidates hurled volleys at the former president, but none gained serious ground on his dominance."

Gibert added that "[Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis had his best performance. Unlike the others, he focused on policy and did well relating his record as governor to how he would govern as president. Despite his awkwardness, he won.

"The 'boys' piled on the lone female on the stage. It wasn't a good look. They projected envy and resentment of [former United Nations Ambassador Nikki] Haley's rolodex of billionaire donors."

But Gibert also concluded that "[Vivek] Ramaswamy came off as a Trump wannabe, with the flurry of personal insults of his opponents. He's brilliant and often made sense. But his condescending tone and arrogance turns off voters, even eliciting boos from the audience when he was attacking his opponents."

As for former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Gibert told Newsmax: "Put a fork in him. His position of allowing parents to make decisions on sex change procedures for their minor children spells his demise as a Republican contender."

Veteran North Carolina political analyst Marc Rotterman agreed. Shortly after the debate, he told Newsmax: "Ramaswamy, as is his pattern, took cheap shots at Nikki Haley. This proves once again, in my view, that he has no business being part of the discussion.

"Clearly Ambassador Haley had a target on her back, as Gov. Desantis also took shots at her for 'bringing Chinese investment into her state.' For her part, Haley seemed to weather the storm."

Christie, in Rotterman's view, "earned his establishment pay by continuing go on the attack against former President Trump. And let's be clear — no one on that stage last night moved the needle, and once again the clear winner was Trump."

"I thought it was actually a great debate, and maybe the best of a sterling group of debates this year," said Bill Ballenger, editor of the much-read Ballenger Report on Michigan politics. "I thought DeSantis did marginally the best, but they all had their moments. Haley was under attack more than usual and was a little wobbly in defending herself.

"Will it change the dynamics of the race? No, but it sets up DeSantis and Haley to surge forward if Trump stumbles." 

Chapman University professor Luke Nichter, author of the critically-acclaimed "1968: The Year That Broke Politics," concluded: "There were four on the stage at the beginning of the debate, but by the end there are really only two that mattered. Chris Christie sounds close to dropping out and endorsing Nikki Hailey, to whom he came to a strong defense when she was again attacked by Vivek Ramaswamy."

Nichter pointed out that "while people were initially drawn to Ramaswamy's energy, he has been unable to shift from disrupter to statesman. His attacks on seemingly everyone are beginning to seem personal and even a little petulant. So that leaves Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. Both are surging, for different reasons.

"Haley has gotten an injection of fundraising support and is going like a house afire. DeSantis came through the strongest on administrative expertise. His management of Florida was also a major theme during his debate with [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom. Haley outshined the men on the stage when it came to foreign policy: Russian, Iran, Israel/Palestine, and Taiwan.

"Tonight's debate is also a reminder that it is just one chapter in a longer story, and you have to consider the whole arc up to now. For example, abortion was a major issue in previous debates; tonight it was not mentioned, even once.

"At the time of the first debate, there was no conflict in the Middle East. By this fourth debate, held in deep-red Tuscaloosa, Alabama, there was a shift to nerve issues like illegal immigration and whether young people should be able to receive puberty-blocking hormones even before they can get a tattoo or vote."

Nichter added: "So where does this leave us? Donald Trump is the nominee, even though he again skipped tonight's debate — opting instead to take part in last night's town hall with Sean Hannity. And, of those still debating, Nikki Haley has proven herself as the best qualified running mate."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Wednesday's Republican presidential debate, the fourth of the year, was by far the best, a group of experts who spoke to Newsmax agreed.
debate, trump, haley, christie, ramaswamy, desantis
Thursday, 07 December 2023 12:27 PM
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