In a time where Republicans have become weary of debates, we are entering a season where they are more important than they’ve ever been. It’s crunch time. Voters are ready to pull the levers and many are solidifying last minute decisions. Candidates have refined their messages and honed in on their talking points. And now, with the tragic loss of one of the greatest conservative opinions on the Supreme Court bench more is at stake than ever before.
The South Carolina debates were a debacle and embarrassment, mostly caused by the buffoon who takes residence at center stage. We have a panel of serious candidates, many of whom have offered thoughtful policy solutions being overshadowed by a man full of shallow stratagems designed to keep his name in the headlines. Watching a debate that involves Trump is often like going to dinner with a bunch of adults but being distracted from any adult conversation because the bratty, non-disciplined 4-year old won’t sit down and behave.
We saw Trump at his worst Saturday night. A man becoming unhinged by the pressures of winning at all costs. Often red-faced and obviously forgetting he was supposed to act like a Republican in front of South Carolina primary voters he forgot to keep his crazy tucked in. In frequent spits of anger and loss of self-control he reminded voters that he is a 9/11 Truther. In a speech he might have pulled straight from Pelosi’s desk, he ranted that Bush should have been impeached for his decisions to go to war with Iraq. And, failing to remember he was in South Carolina, he insulted Senator Graham who was sitting in the audience- a man who might not be exceedingly popular among conservatives but who is beloved by South Carolina and voted into office over and over again.
Trump also spent time repeating the fallacy that we wouldn’t be discussing immigration had he not entered the race and steered the conversation. A point I wished had been more central to the response was that had Trump not spent years and millions upon millions of dollars supporting liberal candidates like Pelosi and Reid, we would probably already have that wall in place. Trump is a large part of the failure in American politics and voters need to be reminded of this at every opportunity.
If Saturday’s debate did anything, my deep hope is that it reminded South Carolina voters the gravity with which is now tied to this nomination given the new bearing on the Supreme Court. Not just the need for a candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton by uniting all factions of the base and attracting the independents and moderates that we will need to win this general election, but a potential president who is deep, thoughtful, and purposeful in his understanding of the judicial ramifications moving forward. This is serious business for a serious person- not a 60-minute reality show looking for higher ratings with which to attract sponsors.
South Carolina, please don’t take this decision lightly.