We knew going into this debate that the Republican presidential primaries are not real. Trump is the Republican nominee. I do think though that if Chris Christie had been the Chris Christie who showed up about half the time in this debate that would have been significant. He would have consolidated the admittedly very small Never Trump group within the GOP. That doesn’t matter a lot. But he would have raised some doubts among Republicans about what Trump’s first term was actually like and also forced more conversation about what Trump is promising in a second term. That would have been significant. It would have forced more stuff into the public conversation. It would have forced the other Republican candidates to address Trump’s craziness more clearly. It wouldn’t have defeated Trump. But it would have made a difference by breaking the GOP code of silence about Trump.
Chris Christie promised a campaign that went nonstop berserk on Trump. Christie is credible when he promises going berserk. But he just didn’t do it. It was quite a moment during the first GOP debate when he just went totally low energy. I was genuinely surprised. At least expected it to be pretty entertaining. But the fight just wasn’t in him. Tonight for the first time that Christie showed up. This is the last debate. So it’s obviously too late.
If there was any more confirmation needed Nikki Haley is just wholly incapable of stepping into the role of 2nd place front runner. Just not there. Not even to move into double digits to make the race into a two person race. Not happening. Move on. Vivek Ramaswamy is just a feral, malignant twit. He manages to get worse. I genuinely wondered whether one of the other candidates was going to physically attack him.
Besides Christie the rest of the candidates and the debate itself had about the energy and mood you’d expect if it were a primary in which literally no one on the stage had a chance to win. Because of course that is what it is.