For the first time, I actually watched a good chunk of the kiddie table debate. It’s not that I think Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, or George Pataki have a chance of winning, but I wanted to see what they would say about some of the frontrunners. The bigger takeaway from it was that I got to hear them all and it made me wish the main debate stage would be less crowded. It’s something that I’ve felt for a while as have many Republicans. Now, I’m demanding it as should all Republicans.
If the lower-level candidates want to keep touring and campaigning for whatever reason, so be it, but stop being a distraction from the real candidates. The GOP should make all of the upcoming debates bigger at the kiddie table and smaller for prime time. It makes sense for voters. It makes sense for the networks covering it because it will bring more viewers to the smaller debate without hampering the main stage numbers.
More importantly, it will allow us to get more information from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, and/or Jeb Bush.
Trump, Cruz, and Rubio are squarely in the hunt. Carson, though fading, still has a good base. Christie, who was at the kiddie table in the fourth debate and moved up for the fifth, is quietly gaining ground among the Republican Establishment people who don’t trust Rubio and don’t believe in Bush. As far as Bush, well, he might not deserve to be on the main stage but he still has a lot of money so his campaign is still technically valid.
I like Rand Paul and it’s a shame to have to force him off, but his campaign is dead in the water. Unless Cruz and Trump have simultaneous cataclysmic collapses, he’s playing for one of three things:
- A 2020 run in case the Republicans lose in 2016.
- A 2024 run if they win.
- A cabinet position. No, he won’t be considered for VP by any of the frontrunners.
While his Senate seat is currently safe, a strong challenger could emerge that would force him to pay more attention to his Senate campaign. It’s not pressing yet with no serious contenders and separate voting days for the caucus and standard primaries, but he shouldn’t assume that reelection is in the bag.
I also like Carly Fiorina, though I don’t consider her to be a serious contender, either. As for John Kasich, well, he really doesn’t fit in anywhere in this picture. He said he wouldn’t consider a VP tap which would be the only value he brings to the party based upon hopes of delivering Ohio in the general election, so he should either drop to the kiddie table or drop out completely. I couldn’t help but point out his strange mannerisms during the debate.
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) December 16, 2015
Those three need to go. Nobody needs to move up. Six is the max. Five is better. I could even picture a four-man debate if Bush and Carson continue to tank.
Even though it’s still relatively early and strange things have happened in the past, there’s no need to waste airtime on those who have zero chance. America needs to see as much from the prime contenders as possible. Everyone else is just a distraction.