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The Third Republican Primary Debate, Ranked

The Third Republican Primary Debate, Ranked

I love seeing a good debate. While I saw many people online saying that they were not interested in watching the debates at all, mostly coming from Trump supporters, I again found myself excited for the day when I woke up Wednesday morning. Personally, I am a Trump supporter, enough so that I’d be willing to write in his name when I vote for President in 2024 if Democrats and RINO’s are successful in their election interference with the indictments and attempts at removing him from the ballot. Regardless, I think it is both a good idea that Trump didn’t show up for this debate and I think it is a good idea that everyone else is continuing to move forward and have their own debates still. 

As said, I love debates. Looking back now, I truly enjoyed the experience of watching the third Republican primary debate. I’m not going to trash anyone here, as I honestly believe all 5 of the candidates on stage tonight did a good job. Every single one of them would be a better President than Joe Biden or any Democrat that they currently have in their roster. I consider this a good sign for the Republican party, even though many other Republicans, and especially Trump supporters, would disagree with me. Everyone on stage stood their ground and shared their views, culminating in a debate experience that was funny, informative, clarifying, balanced and ordered. 

I do wonder, with everything that has been happening to Republicans the past few years, how it came to be that the decision was made to do a Republican primary debate on NBC. Why on Earth did the GOP allow them to be the hosts and moderators? The thought quickly came up in the debate, with a great answer and self reflection from one of the candidates, but I’ll get to that here later. Still though, why aren’t the likes of Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan or Elon Musk hosting these debates? Any of them, or almost anyone else, would be a more sensible host for future debates if you actually want the people to believe that our entire election process isn’t just a show. Voters see this, see Trump gone, see Republicans debating on NBC and as a result only see further corruption and disconnection from the party establishment.

I started streaming the debate originally through the GOP livestream on Rumble, but the coverage and analysis before the debate was so awful, corny and cringeworthy that I actually had to switch it directly to the NBC stream on Youtube. Far from an upgrade. This alone was a simple but massive failure on the hands of the GOP leadership that we currently have. The absolute lack of entertainment value within the GOP establishment and within the RNC leadership is why we have such a disconnect with young voters, especially without the likes of Trump or Vivek. Republicans need cool, fun, inspirational energy, for youth and elder alike. I’ve said it before, but Republicans would do a lot of good by searching for ways to improve here. Investing in art and culture may be a great start in a new direction forward. Thankfully, for now, we have Trump and Vivek, or Republicans would be hopelessly boring. Boring may work for Democrats who sell themselves with social values, but Republicans need inspiration and authenticity with a cool factor to make the people listen and look at actual policy. 

On the NBC stage for the night in Miami, Florida, the moderators were Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, journalist Kristen Walker and radio host Hugh Hewitt. With Mike Pence dropping out of the race and Doug Burgam not making the cut, the five remaining candidates for the Republican nominee are Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott and Chris Christie. Donald Trump rightfully skipped out on the debate, choosing instead to host another massive rally in Hialeah, Florida. 

With all of that said, here’s my ranking of the Top 5 performances from the debate between Republican candidates for President of the United States of America. 

5 – Chris Christie

I’ve never really liked Christie that much, but despite my lack of trust for the man and his consistently low approval ratings, one thing about him is that he does come from a background of experience. I wasn’t aware that he was appointed the US attorney for New Jersey the day before 9/11 in 2001. His statement on having experience handling religious divisions in American society is both timely and necessary, and he is capable of expressing this need while still showing trustworthy support for Israel in the face of everything happening in the Middle East today. With a focus on doing “big things” for American work and American energy, he does seem to have somewhat of a vision beyond his “Trump bad” rhetoric of past debates. He even brought up the 1992 deal with Ukraine where we offered protection for removing their nuclear weapons, which is also necessary to keep in mind as you most often just only hear about the deals we made with Russia not to advance UN interests towards the region. He spoke of building nuclear subs as a deterrent and isolating Iran from further escalation, while also speaking of the need to ban Tik Tok. The highlighting of Trump not doing so, when it comes to banning Tik Tok, was a failure worth highlighting in my opinion  that I also agree with. 

Christie is not a bad guy, but he’s not a great leader either. He rightly sums himself up in his final statement of the debate, where he attempted to connect with voters by claiming that he is running because he is tired. He listed all of the things he is tired of, but only left the feeling that he himself is a too tired candidate. 

He will not be the next President. 

4 – Tim Scott

Here’s another man that I have great respect for, but do not see as the next President. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that I’ve always liked Tim Scott. At one point, I was hoping Trump may pick him for VP, but looking at the stage and the world around there are still better options for him moving forward. Nothing against Tim Scott, he’s a good man and a good leader, but I don’t think he has the capability of being THE leader here. Still, he makes a great politician and Senator. 

His vision of standing on a foundation of faith is genuinely inspiring, and he continues to be a leading Christian voice. Quoting the bible and speaking for restoring Christian values here, calling for a new spiritual awakening within the nation, Tim Scott remains to be the faith candidate. While he may not win by focusing on this first, it is still a worthy inspiration for believers, viewers and followers of his campaign. I hope for the best for Tim Scott, and no matter what plans God has for him in the days ahead, I believe he will continue to be a great leader in the Christian community. 

3 – Ron DeSantis

If DeSantis had just waited 4 years, he probably would have been the next President in 2028. Between his lack of loyalty, lack of confidence, “bootgate” and the endless barrage of memes making fun of him, I’m not so sure I’ve ever seen a political candidate fall from grace so hard. He went from being the golden boy of the Republicans outside of Trump to being the laughing stock of the internet. Sometimes, his actions are so cringeworthy and desperate that it is even hard for me to watch. 

With that said, why do I have him ranked at the 3 spot? Because, quite frankly, I still personally like him. Many Trump supporters would never support DeSantis and have entirely turned against him, but I still find myself thinking that underneath his own insecurity and lack of true leadership skills is a leader who does actually have a vision that he is capable of getting done. I still to this day believe he did a great job in Florida as Governor and would still actually do a good job if he ever became President. He is a capable man, he just shot himself in the foot by turning his back on Trump and jumping the gun on running in this election here rather than just waiting. He could have had the support of the entire Republican base in 2028 and brought all the Trump supporters onto a further path towards a new America First agenda. He messed all of this up for himself and there is no one else to blame here. 

Still, back at the debate stage, DeSantis did a good job. He called out recent Republican election losses and properly compared it to his own absolute victory in Florida. He spoke of his action taking the initiative to rescue Americans and bringing them back to safety from Israel. His military service in Iraq and his concern as a Father are sure to connect with Republican voters, and this is his true strength in running that he should be emphasizing upon further. 

DeSantis wants to “finish the job once and for all” for Israel handling Hamas, focus on China over Ukraine (which I agree with), no troops to Ukraine (which I agree with), US forces to the US border on day one (which I agree with) and he wants Bidenomics out on day one (which I agree with). 

His comments about starting out working a minimum wage job and understanding how people are feeling left behind in the modern economy were some of the best and most relatable statements of the entire night from any candidate. 

The anchor for his debate strategy was on point as well, as he both, during the opening and closing of his statements, brought up how this entire election was not about him, but about you, the voter, and your future. His vision of service above self puts him higher than the other candidates below, in my own opinion. 

2 – Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley seems to be the establishment favorite. The more I learn about her and hear her speak, I can understand why and even, at times, find myself agreeing with the sentiment. She is certainly the war candidate, and I believe, other than Trump, that she might be the best fit for handling real war from an American perspective. Despite this, frankly, I still believe Trump is the best candidate for both seeking peace and handling potential war. Not for seeking peace, but for handling potential war, she comes in at a hot second for me.

She is certainly pro military, which we need right now. She stands strong with the Jewish community and believes that Israel should “finish them” when speaking of Hamas. She’s ready to defend Taiwan and Ukraine, and I could see her showing absolute confidence, even if actually ignorance, if we were to find ourselves in wars on three fronts, or four if you decide to count the border. I believe she could somehow handle Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and the border, while other candidates may collapse under that potential pressure. I believe only Trump and Haley could handle that. I’d like to think Vivek could too, but to this I am uncertain due to his lack of experience in warfare, but I also believe Vivek has the mind to learn to potentially do a good job here as well. 

A highlight for me of her performance was her saying to “Never be so ignorant to think that we don’t need friends”. I consider myself somewhat of an isolationist, who truly wants America First policies to be implemented within the United States. I’d love to see us stop being the world police. Still, her bringing this up with her surrounding defense of the idea is some of the most convincing rhetoric I have heard towards making me feel like helping Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan is in the best of US interests. She makes me feel that war here may not only be possible to win, but necessary for the future and a worthy action to take. 

She says that she wants to cut ties with China, and I initially believed her, but hearing Vivek Ramaswamy call her out on her time as the UN ambassador and her previous statements on China being a “great friend” make it seem like she will just speak whatever is necessary to be fitting for her in the moment. She did turn around and try calling out DeSantis for some of his supposed business connections with China and something about scrubbing a website a week ago, but this only made me feel like both Haley and DeSantis had things going on behind the scenes with views that aren’t being spoken about honestly. My greatest issue with Nikki Haley is that she may be inclined to be a President of the UN rather than a President of the United States. 

Regardless, her vision of “having a strong dollar” matters. She wants to beef back up the middle class, defund sanctuary cities, cut taxes, cut spending and considers our economic failures a national security risk. I agree with all of this and enjoy seeing someone speak of the matter as such. Still though, I can’t help but question if her only real solution to creating a better economy is war. It’s worked in the past, but is that really the direction we should go? I certainly do not think so, but maybe I am wrong.

I also appreciate her views on abortion, saying that she doesn’t want America to be divided over this issue anymore and seeks to find common ground understanding between divided voters on the issue. 

Finally, I do have concerns with her connection to Boeing and the military industrial complex. I’d like to see her speak about her views on collecting stock options and benefiting monetarily from war. I love our military and want us to be the best on the world stage. The best minds, the best soldiers with the best weapons and technology. Still though, I have concerns for someone who speaks so openly about war, who is capable of profiting from war, with the power to make more war. 

All in all, this debate actually made me like Nikki Haley more. I appreciate who she is, her vision and her leadership potential, but I still find myself far from trusting her. I think she would do a good enough job and I do believe she would stand strong in times of war, but I still do not really want her to be the next President of the United States. She may be better off just getting a job at Boeing.

1 – Vivek Ramaswamy

In my opinion, Vivek dominated the competition, the stage, the moderators and the network at the debate. He is, by far, obviously the most intelligent, entertaining and energized candidate on the stage. As a Trump supporter, I suppose this view can be somewhat expected from me. Even still, I don’t see how anyone could say that Vivek didn’t win the debate tonight. He made the audience laugh and cheer, sharing some genuinely unexpected moments with a spark of something new for the Republican ideal. 

The first time Vivek spoke, he began by breaking the narrative and throwing the absurdity of NBC hosting the debate back in their faces, which is truly what the majority of American voters wanted to see. He did this with comedy and grace. 

Vivek began the debate off the first question with “I think there’s something deeper going on in the Republican Party here and I am upset about what happened last night (Republicans losing another election). We’ve become a party of losers, at the end of the day… Since Ronna McDaniel took over as chairwoman of the RNC in 2017, we have lost 2018, 2020, 2022, a red wave that never came and we got trounced last night in 2023…Think about whose moderating this debate – this should be Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan and Elon Musk. We’d have 10 times the viewership, asking questions that GOP primary voters actually care about and bringing more people into our party… this is actually about you in the media and the corrupt media establishment… The Trump Russia collusion hoax that you pushed on this network for years, was that real or was that Hillary Clinton made up disinformation? Answer the question – Go.”

And he didn’t stop there. “This is how we get our country back. We need accountability because this media rigged the 2016 election, they rigged the 2020 election with a Hunter Biden laptop story and they’re going to rig this election… accountability, that’s how you unite this country”.

Frankly, I couldn’t agree more. I loved seeing him kick off his debate performance with that introduction. That wasn’t even the funniest moment of the night though, with Vivek calling both Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis “Dick Cheney in 3 inch heels”. A masterwork of political comedy with perfect timing. 

That alone makes Vivek take the cake for the night, but it wasn’t just his comedy and wit that wins for me. His policies and beliefs, above all else, are what makes him the victor of the evening from my eyes. He supports America First policies more so than any other candidate, he takes a common sense approach to conflict and remains to be the closest thing to a Republican anti war candidate, he believes in free speech for all, he takes the strongest stance against censorship and corruption, he wants accountability for China and the United States around Covid, he wants to declare economic independence from China, he was the only candidate to call out Christian censorship in Ukraine, he properly calls out Fentanyl as a bioweapon, actually has the balls to bring up the northern border with Canada, he is a businessman with a focus on increasing supply within the United States and he is the only candidate capable of inspiring the youth while obtaining new voters for the Republican party. He also had the balls to speak that Biden should end his presidency immediately so that the voters can actually see who’s next between Gavin Newsom or Kamala Harris. Another great move in calling out the Democrats’ failures and hesitations. 

All of this, together, make him, by far, the best candidate on the stage of the third Republican Primary debate. He won without a shadow of a doubt, in my opinion. 

Vivek Ramaswamy is a breath of fresh air into the entire Republican party. I wish the party wasn’t so blatantly against him when the people obviously seem to be positively reacting to his campaign efforts. All Republicans should take note of his capability to mobilize and inspire the passion of young voters. 

Not to mention that he is paying for all of this himself. For me, that is a true inspiration and a great middle finger to the super pac establishment that has bought off American political discourse. Great leaders inspire great change, not for the government, but for the people. I believe Vivek Ramaswamy is capable of doing just that.

So Vivek won the debate between who was present on the stage. Immediately after the debate ended though, the crowd of voters began to chant together in unison, sharing their support for Donald Trump. The moderators attempted to shut down the cheers, but the message was clear – the people do not care about the theatrics of the NBC debate and they just want Trump back. 

While I support Vivek entirely, my vote will still stand with Donald Trump. I gave it an extra day before finishing this article just to see some of the polls coming out from voters on who won the debate tonight, and to no surprise it seems as if Donald Trump is still the winner of the debate without even being there. Let’s take a look at what others had to say from various polls around the internet that I could find. 

A 2024 General Election poll from Bloomberg/ Morning Consult shows Trump up this morning in all 6 swing states. Head to head with Biden across all states, Trump has 47% support while Biden only takes 41%. Even a 5 way vote including RFK and West shows that Trump still wins with 41% over Biden’s 35%. With everything happening today and the full force of the media, the government and the justice department against him, Trump still somehow is taking the lead. It’s no surprise though, the people are just tired of being manipulated and lied to and I believe a silent majority will be supporting Trump no matter what happens. Trump did a good job for the people and deserves better treatment from our own government, institutions and media. He deserves better treatment especially from the Republican establishment. There’s no exception and no excuse here, other than obvious corruption and election interference. 

Daily Mail released another poll showing that the winner of the debate was Donald Trump at 30%, Ron DeSantis at 20%, Vivek Ramaswamy at 19%, Nikki Haley at 13% and Tim Scott at 6%.

A Washington Post poll showed Nikki Haley as the winner with 34% support. Ron DeSantis followed her with 23% support. Vivek only placed 15%. No surprise here. 

On the X platform, comedian Benny Johnson shared a poll on the debate which showed, of nearly 90,000 votes cast, that Vivek Ramaswamy has 82% support, while Ron DeSantis has 10% and Nikki Haley has 6%. If you look around, most mainstream polling has Nikki Haley as the winner of the night. How is it possible that there is such a disconnect between the actual Republican voters and the Republican establishment? 

It makes no sense to me and this is why we, as Republicans, and us, as a nation, continue to fail. We have little to no honesty, little to no accountability, little to no inspiration and little to no American unity. We have corruption, division, chaos, foreign influence, absurdity and stupidity instead, leading up to what I continue to call a controlled demolition of this nation that we must stop at all costs.  

Trump can do a better job. Vivek can do a better job.

Haley or DeSantis would be somewhat better, but more of the same.

The GOP and Republican party themselves are part of the problem and the solution moving forward is to have a new vision of the American future here. America First policies are the foundation that we should all be seeking to support as a party, as it is what the people want.

This is an absolute necessity.

We’re a year out from the next election in 2024 and the process is just beginning. 

All of this aside, and on a completely different note from everything above, here’s to hoping Donald Trump picks Tucker Carlson as the VP. It’d be epic. 

And finally, to another random thought, Charlie Kirk recently posted about Vivek Ramaswamy taking over Ronna McDaniels job as Chairman of the Republican Party. If Vivek is not selected as Trump’s VP, I could see him doing a great job in that position. The need for change here is highlighted by the debate, which speaks for itself entirely. We could do better than Mitt Romney’s niece. Sorry Ronna, but you simply do not have the leadership skills we need right now within the Republican party. 

Just another thought for the future. 

The debate was fun to see. Regardless of Trump not being there, I still enjoyed the experience, I still learned and am still happy to see it happen. 

For the people. 

About The Author

Jacob Machine

9 albums, 3 books & 2 movies. Come check out my new daily show on X @ jacobmachine3 Enjoy your weekend!


  1. JoeyP

    Well . . . POTUS Trump WON. ’nuff said.

    • Melissia


  2. LMB

    Hey RNC!!! Save your donations!!! STOP these debates as you’re wasting your money!!! TRUMP has won all of these debates without even being there!!! Wake up you REPUBICS!!! Pull your head out and smell the swamp gas!! Save your donors money from these worthless debates!!! They just show the infighting amongst these candidates, as they can’t agree on whatever the issue(s)!!!

  3. Darren

    Jacob, I agree with about everything you wrote, but, the reader must keep in mind the Horrifical
    Democratic Wheel that runs over Republicans with Lies, Bull Shit, and time wasting head lines for CNN.
    Could Vivek Possibly handle the Kayos thrown at him that was thrown at Trump?
    Could any of these people handle that Crap? !!!

  4. Rayzor1

    Nikki is an establishment favorite. That’s because she’s a globalist tool and a puppet of the Military industrial Complex. The very fact you placed her 2nd makes me wonder if you’re just another controlled opposition, “reporter.”