This is my (writer Sean Gibbon’s) version of the scoring. The previous scoring was from Joe Gilbertson, whose opinion I value but sometimes disagree with. Note that I was watching with two outspoken women, so my perspective may have been influenced.
We scored this debate on a scale of +10 to -10. Note we are not rating them on whether we agree with the substance of their arguments, but rather how we believe their performance will influence the voters and their chances to become President of the United States.
1) Donald Trump +5 – The star of the Republican debate – the election season, in general – earned a +5 in my book. Mr. Trump, who is still polling much higher than any other candidate, needs only to avoid a disastrous moment. His back and forth with nearly every candidate on stage displayed his intelligence, confidence and assertiveness we have sorely missed under the Obama administration.
Especially at this point in election season, the make-up and mentality of the candidate mean a lot more than details and knowledge of specific generals throughout the world. However, the points Trump lost in our ranking came from his continuation of personal attacks against other candidates. This latest debate featured the first time I’ve seen a reddening to Mr. Trump’s cheeks, when Carly Fiorina shamed him for insinuating she was too ugly to be president. Such aggressive, sophomoric rhetoric has a chance of running thin with voters – though there is not yet a sign of fatigue.
2) Jeb Bush – 4 – Do you recall the Tom Hanks film entitled “Big”? It’s the story of a young boy put in an adult body, with hilarious, heartfelt results. Jeb Bush reminds me of something similar, though not as successful as the Tom Hanks character: a boy masquerading in his Father’s suits, with little or no substance of his own. We heard these lines from Jeb Bush before; heck, these talking points were not original when George W. Bush was on the campaign train. He a puppet of donors, the product of the same advisers and speech writers who led his brother and father to victory, but Jeb simply can’t pull off the act. I don’t want another actor as president, never the less a bad one.
3) Scott Walker +3 – I would have liked to have given Governor Walker more points, but the moderators had little to no interest in giving him a chance. Gov. Walker voiced his points eloquently and with belief in what he was saying, and I would like to have heard more from. After being confronted by Mr. Trump using questionable statistics about Wisconsin, Walker confronted the businessman with numbers of his own. “Just because he says something, doesn’t make it True,” Walker stated in response to Trump’s attack. I look forward to Scott Walker’s growth as a candidate.
4) Ben Carson -1 – I believe that Dr. Carson will fade after last night’s debate. If a candidate cant keep his own eyes open when speaking, what hope is there for anyone else. People accuse Donald Trump of being too general, but Dr. Carson is perhaps the most abstract man on stage. I don’t believe he stated a single fact all night. He does seem like such a nice guy, though.
5) Ted Cruz – 10 – I’ve never seen a man ham it up for the cameras like Ted Cruz. Every pre-rehearsed line out of Ted Cruz comes off like he’s impersonating a president delivering a vital message to the American people. Some advisor told him to look at the camera to come off as presidential, but the effect was laughable and insincere. Every other candidate engaged with the other candidates, but Cruz only had eyes for you.
6) Marco Rubio +4 – While Rubio does look young on stage, he was able to speak strongly and defend many of his prior weaknesses. I heard a strength in Rubio that I haven’t heard prior, and his defence of his lack of voting will resonate with voters who are disenfranchised with the political status quo. In addition, Rubio’s story of how his Spanish speaking grandfather was the one who taught him to love America was a powerful, humanizing moment. I expect to see a rise in the polls for Marco Rubio, but he doesn’t seem to be quite ready to be a serious candidate. He would have a better chance as a Democrat.
7) Mike Huckabee 0 – What can you say about Huckabee? Despite his gentlemanly nature, the former governor doesn’t have a shot at becoming president. A candidate who believes a woman should not have an abortion when her life is at risk is not viable in the 21st century.
8) Rand Paul – 10 – This one hurts. I was personally in favor of Rand Paul at the start of the campaign season. However, he has seemed meek and way out his league around the other candidates. As Donald Trump said, “there are too many candidates already on stage.” It’s time to leave
9) John Kasich – 7 – Mostly I just wanted Kasich to stop speaking . While I was impressed with the Governor’s first debate, I couldn’t help but feel he had become cocky at that point. His points were generic – despite being spoken boastfully – and in today’s America, no one has time for anything less than exceptional. I hope he enjoyed his airforce 1 ride with Reagan, because I don’t see another in his future.
10) Chris Christie +5 – The return of the sharp-witted, likeable, swaggering Christie was a pleasant surprise. There is a reason this Republican is the governor of a liberal state, and all of America was able to see that last night. A Christie who is in top form could be dangerous to every other candidate. His point about America not caring about the specific aspects of Trump and Fiorina’s careers will be a memorable moment.
11) Carly Fiorina +8 – With the most ground gained already, Carly Fiorina did tremendously well. Ms. Fiorina sounded confident and informed on every issue she commented on. In contrast with Hillary Clinton, Fiorina is a candidate every woman in America can admire.
I’m expecting a large boost in her poll ratings.
Within 2 months we predict the top five will be Trump, Fiorina, Christie and Bush, not necessarily in that order.