They gave him center stage and flanked him equally to the right and to the left with five candidates each, yet Donald Trump failed to deliver in the second Republican debate in Simi Valley. This was the time for the presidential wannabes to dive down deep into the specifics of what is ailing America and how they would make a turnaround. Clearly, there were those who did not do it. Trump was the most obvious, sticking to mundane generalities with grandiose hyperboles.
Meanwhile, specifics of the state of the country and strategies candidates would take to make a turnaround were strong, concise and intelligent from Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina. Losing ground beside Trump was Ben Carson and Rand Paul, if it is possible that Paul could lose ground. The remaining middle tier moved along steadily when their turn came, but without much to excite the crowd. And then there were those candidates like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, who used the stage to make their mark with bombastic attacks on others.
For CNN, they lost control of the dais early in the format by allowing shout-outs from the candidates rather than a defining bell to end discussion. The questions noticeably ignored the economy, especially notable a day before a possible rate increase by the Federal Reserve and the current real numbers of unemployment and under-employment prevailing across the nation. Instead, the moderators moved into marijuana, a local issue, as well as a trifling one considering all that is currently threatening our national security.
But all-in-all, debate forums remain a very informative source for the voters, and in a field as broad as this Republican primary, essential in learning about the candidates and helping voters to make an intelligent decision. So voters, hang in there, it is going to be an interesting election season. October brings the first Democratic debate, and there may well be some surprises as to who we will see up on that stage.
Martha Webster, Royal Palm Beach