ABC News will host the very first nationally televised GOP presidential debate for 2016 tonight at 8pm Eastern. Seven candidates will take the stage; Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, John Kasich, Chris Christie, and low-energy Jeb ′Exclamation Point′ Bush. Rand Paul did qualify but dropped out and for some reason, ABC is keeping Carly Fiorina from appearing. Maybe she gives them a headache? The other alleged candidate not invited is former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore. The debate will take place in Manchester, New Hampshire, which holds it′s primary on Tuesday. The moderators will be David Muir and Martha Radditz.
Everyone is expecting Marco Rubio to get hammered by all comers. Rubio has yet to face any serious attacks until his third-place finish in the Iowa Caucus on Monday. Rick Santorum, who dropped out after finishing in last place in Iowa, endorsed Rubio. But Santorum could not recall a single thing Rubio succeeded in doing in the US Senate during an interview on MSNBC′s ″Morning Joe″. I suppose avoiding scandals about credit card abuse or ′CocoDorm′ don′t count? Ah, the wilds of youth!
New Hampshire could be the end for several campaigns. Ben Carson just cut 50 paid staff members from his campaign. I guess the days of steak dinners and first-class hotel rooms are over? Gilmore needs to go away as does Carly Fiorina before she causes more headaches across America. With most of the next batch of primaries and caucuses in the South, if Chris Christie does not do well this week, he may as well hang it up. Kasich, too! Jeb Exclamation Point still has cash to burn, but his numbers are so low he should just quit and maybe run for the Senate. I′m not sure if Florida would even elect him now for that job?
Ted Cruz is about the only other contender left who might be able to stay in the race for the long haul other than Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. Tonight′s debate will be the most important one yet. Cruz does have an image problem now as being a cheat and a liar. He wasn′t all that popular nationwide to begin with and his ′Ugly Win′ in Iowa has only tarnished him even more. For Rubio, tonight will be his baptism of fire. Can he hold his own and earn the right to be the ′Chosen One′ for the GOP Establishment? Will he run afoul of Donald Trump? But if Rubio does poorly tonight, then that puts Jeb, Kasich and Christie back in The Game for another week or two.
Speaking of Trump, the New Hampshire primary is crucial for him. A big win, 10 percentage points or more, would put the Trump Train back on track. A modest win, anything above 2-3 points, would keep him in command over the next few weeks as the campaign heads into the Deep South. A narrow win over Marco would make South Carolina a horse race now that Rubio has some major endorsements from there. Trump could play the ′anchor baby′ card on Marco Rubio, since neither of his parents were US citizens when he was born here. Or maybe Trump will get some help from the rumor-mongers on 4chan and 8chan about potential skeletons in the closet for Rubio? I′m talking about stuff much worse, or much juicier than the alleged ′CocoDorm′!
So who will win tonight′s GOP presidential debate on ABC at 8pm Eastern? Naturally, I′m betting on Donald Trump to carry the night! We need some good, old fashioned Trumpenstumpen. Its been too long! A nice mix of insults and factual attacks. We′ll see how low-energy Jeb is, how dull Kasich will be, how inexperienced Rubio will appear and just how sneaky Cruz looks. As for Carson, he′s ready for beddy-bye and Christie has no chance unless there′s a contest for bromancing Barack Obama. The Republican debate should be the best thing on TV tonight! ″Black Sails″? Who cares??? CoziTV has good rerun of ″Wonder Woman″ where she fights Faustina, the Nazi-wonder-chick. AMC-TV has Day One of Zombie Bowl with yet another marathon of ″The Walking Dead″, which goes on all week till next Sunday′s return of the series. I′ll catch Day Two tomorrow as I can care less about the Stupid Bowl.