Going Dancin’: The Post Turtle’s Guide to the GOP Debates (PART 2)


Part 2 of our guide talks about The Dark Horses, those Sucking LIKE A FOX!, and a group that’s Just Happy to Be Here.



Admit it! You’re way more excited about the Republican primary debates than the Democratic primary debates. And in all honesty, why wouldn’t you be!! With so many Republicans vying for the GOP ticket, the August 6th debate is going to be the Royal Rumble of primary debates! Now to make it more manageable, the Republican Party –who is taking over the debates this year – has said they will invite only the top 10 presidential candidates to speak at the debates. Based on how they interpret their own rules, it can be tricky to see who’s going to the big show. Luckily we did the leg work so you don’t have to. So here’s Part 2 of The Post Turtle’s guide to who’s going to the August 6th Republican Primary Debates!


Also be sure to check out Part 1 of our guide where we talk about Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and some guy named Trump.



The Dark Horses



It looks bad, but you can’t call these guys out just yet!


Spot #4 – Marco Rubio (4.7% of the vote) and Spot #5 – Rand Paul (4.3% of the vote)

Marco Rubio and Rand Paul


Not going to lie, it doesn’t look good for these two. At one time, both Marco Rubio and Rand Paul were looked at as the future of the Republican Party. Marco Rubio was to be “the Prodigal Republican Son” that would use his Cuban heritage to bring the Hispanic bloc into the GOP fold. As for Rand Paul, he was going to be the one that brought the tenants of Libertarianism to the masses. To see how different the political landscape is now, this was the cover of Time Magazine back in 2010.


Tea Party Time Magazine Cover


Ahh, memories! Now they’re getting beaten by Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee – aka those guys that probably believe thunder is caused by God bowling strikes in Heaven.


Even though sources say the Paul campaign is in a current death spiral and Rubio’s poll numbers continue to drop, there’s still a chance for either one of them to turn it around. Both candidates need a strong set of debate performances, because as the GOP field thins out, those voters are going to latch onto a candidate. If either Rubio or Paul can do that, they would be right back in it!



Sucking, LIKE A FOX!



No one realistically thinks they have a chance, but maybe, JUST MAYBE, the jokes on us…


Spot #6 – Ben Carson (5.9% of the vote), Spot #7 – Ted Cruz (5.6% of the vote), and Spot #8 – Mike Huckabee (5.3% of the vote)

Cruz, Carson, and Huckabee


Ben Carson said the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is the worst thing since slavery. Mike Huckabee has equated President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal to the atrocities of the Holocaust. And Ted Cruz is making, machine-gun bacon?





If you asked me before the 2016 GOP primaries on what I thought about these three men running for president, I would have made a joke that their decision to run ranks up there as one of the greatest mysteries in our time, next to how much room did that tailor leave for President Johnson’s massive balls? Then knowing me, I’d make a Quantum Leap reference.


Yet as of this writing, Carson, Cruz, and Huckabee are in 4th, 5th, and 6th place respectively in the polls. Granted there is quite a distance between Carson and Scott Walker – about seven percentage points – but still 4th through 6th place in a crowded GOP field is nothing to scoff at! The people in this group tend to share the same characteristics; they’re candidates that came into national prominence from the Tea Party surge back in 2010, they make controversial statements about social policy issues, and they look at themselves as “Washington Outsiders.”


Oh, also I still think they have a zero chance of winning the nomination.


Regardless, it’s hard to write off their surge in poll numbers. Sen. Paul or Sen. Rubio would sacrifice a flock of interns to the Ghost of Ronald Reagan for these early polling numbers. The numbers legitimize their candidacies in more ways than one. These guys are definitely tapping into that same nerve that is giving Donald Trump such an early lead. However history shows that these leads never last. Still, these first couple of debates could be HUGE for them. If Carson, Cruz, or Huckabee were to perform well, they could turn this polling surge into something much more substantial.


Till then, it’s hard to see their success as anything more than a polling anomaly.



Just Happy to Be Here



Hey, sometimes you’re just happy to get in at all.


Spot # 9 and Spot #10: Chris Christie (3.6% of the vote), John Kasich (2.8% of the vote), Rick Perry (1.9% of the vote), Bobby Jindal (1.3% of the vote), Rick Santorum (1.1% of the vote), and others

Too Many Cooks


Ok, here’s the good news.


For candidates that don’t make the cut when it comes to the first GOP debate, it’s important to remember that Mitt Romney skipped the first debate in the 2012 primaries and ended up winning the Republican nomination!


Now here’s the bad news.


That’s not going to happen to anyone here.


Not being one of the ten candidates on that debate stage is an early death in these primaries. To put it bluntly, no one in this group is Mitt Romney. If anyone is Mitt Romney in these 2016 GOP primaries, it’s Jeb Bush; a traditional, moderate Republican, that has A .SHIT. TON. of financial capital backing him. After all, there’s a difference between you choosing not to go (Romney) and not getting invited (all but two candidates in this group).


If I were a betting man, I would say Chris Christie and Rick Perry get the last two spots, because of name recognition. But I could be just as wrong. Early polling – especially with the number of candidates participating in the GOP primaries this year – can change with just a handful of survey participants. Still even getting on the debate stage doesn’t guarantee exposure. With so many candidates vying for talking time, it’s going to be hard to get noticed.


Sometimes in life, you’re just speedbumps in someone else’s journey. For people who fall in this group, that might just be the case in these 2016 primaries.



(Photo Credits: Google Images, YouTube, Time Magazine, Adult Swim)


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