The 2nd Republican Presidential Primary debate featured all the personalities of the prior debate less Asa Hutchinson who is a discount Mike Pence. Donald Trump was absent yet became a target from nearly all the candidates for not showing up, among other things. Fox News hosted this debate and went woke in their questions, in amateurish fashion.
After a polarizing debate performance last month, Vivek Ramaswamy returned and attempted to be above the fray. However, the other candidates were quick to remind him that he previously called them bought and paid for. Ramaswamy had a good moment on birthright citizenship and transgendering children, but ultimately espoused old ideas like only a fringe of the Democrat Party is a problem. Ramaswamy did no favors to his fledging campaign that appears to have peaked early.
Feisty Tim Scott
Tim Scott showed a feistier side, but failed to materialize any moments. He went after Ron DeSantis for his non-woke curriculum on black history, going pretty woke in the process. He tampered it by criticizing the Great Society. Ultimately, he did not help his campaign and furthermore appeared unready.
Dirty Mike and the Boys
Mike Pence tried to make a sex joke about his marital relations with a teacher after Chris Christie talked about Joe Biden sleeping with the teacher’s union. Edgy Mike Pence is perhaps the cringiest Mike Pence.
Fox News asked the candidates to vote each other off the island. But Ron DeSantis led the other candidates in rejecting the dumpster fire that Fox News wanted. As noted by Anthony, candidates used to be asked who among the others would they like as a VP choice, something positive. Additionally, Fox News asked about people black people being hurt by Florida’s curriculum. DeSantis dismissed the premise of the question. But DeSantis’s strongest moment was defending the preborn, specifically from Trump. On the national stage, DeSantis attacked Trump for being pro-abortion and doubled down on signing pro-life legislation. Running as a pro-abortion candidate will hurt Trump, even if his record includes appointing the justices that overturned Roe. DeSantis capitalized on the opportunity in a big way.
Overall, DeSantis decisively won this debate, and it’s not even close. Doug Burgum did okay. Everyone else sucked.