The Last GOP Debate Before Iowa Takes Place TonightDecember 6, 2023
The final Republican presidential debate before party members start choosing among the candidates. It’s just 40 days and nights until the Iowa caucus, on Jan. 15, with the New Hampshire primary following the week after. It was enough time for Noah and his menagerie to ride out the flood in his ark. Will it be enough time for the GOP to cleanse itself of its frontrunner Donald Trump?
On the stage tonight from the University of Alabama will be Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy. Asa Hutchinson seems to still be running, but hasn’t qualified for any debate since that first one in August.
As the field has winnowed down, so has the public interest, with each subsequent debate losing a quarter of the audience from the one before. If that pattern holds, expect fewer than 6 million watching tonight. engagement should be growing, as this is the last chance to coalesce behind someone other than Trump, who has refused to debate.
Trump is the issue of 2024. The other matters, of war and peace and the economy, all follow. President Biden told a Boston fundraising crowd yesterday that he might not even be running but for the threat of Trump. Trump isn’t hiding what he will do should he get back into the Oval Office, using the power of government to attack his enemies and take vengeance against those he thinks have harmed him.
A symposium in the new issue of Atlantic magazine by 24 authors all address the same scenario: “If Trump wins.” The predictions seem accurate and are not good for America and for democracy.
In Liz Cheney’s new book, “Oath and Honor,” out yesterday, she warns of the danger that Trump poses should he regain power. The next time he won’t leave office, election or no election. Cheney puts country and Constitution above party, saying that she’d rather a Democrat be elected next fall instead of Trump.
Unlike Trump, she is Republican born and bred and always been in the party. Her dad Dick was a Nixon White House aide from the time she was 2, he later was Ford’s chief of staff, a congressman, the defense secretary for the first Bush and the veep for the second Bush. Still, Cheney musing about her own third party run could siphon off anti-Trump voters, aiding the monster.
They are all real longshots, but maybe one of the four on the stage tonight can make it a race against Trump and hopefully end the threat he poses to the Republican Party and the nation. We will know soon enough.