Who Won the Debate?

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio strengthened themselves in the fourth Republican Party debate, which was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last night.

Dick Morris 3

Trump regained his former form — irreverent, blunt, feisty, fearless and strong. He dished out red meat all night. His best moments were in his dissection of the excuses for granting amnesty, along with his explanation of the feasibility of deportation. He cited Eisenhower’s record, but he may as well have cited President Obama’s. In 2011, before he switched policies, the Obama administration sent over 400,000 illegal immigrants home. It is not hard to see how this could be increased to several million a year, with more manpower and resources.

Trump was also excellent in his critique of the Iraq War — including his proposal to keep some of the oil revenues to compensate those wounded in helping the nation secure its freedom.

Ted Cruz’s performance was very good. Aside from his clarity, style and forcefulness, his substance was groundbreaking. By tying unemployment and wage stagnation to illegal immigration, he set up the parameters of a position that can lure back the Reagan Democrats — the white, blue collar voters and co-opt the left’s issue of income inequality. He also spoke about “sound money,” and implied a return to the gold standard — a brand-new issue in the race. His answers on taxes and budget cuts were specific, but not pedantic. His refusal to bail out banks sharply differentiated him from the District of Columbia consensus. (The rebuttal — that depositors would lose their money — is absurd. We still have the FDIC and federal government behind it).

Rubio’s evening showed his charisma, poise and fluency. His answers about the minimum wage and his optimism about America were moving and important.

However, Rubio set himself up for a big, new negative in his proposal to add a trillion-dollar entitlement in his “refundable” tax credit for families with children. A refundable tax credit is simply a welfare check in a nation where half the citizens pay no taxes to refund. When we combine this issue with Rubio’s deafening silence on amnesty — he sponsored the “Gang of Eight” bill on immigration — we see two potent negatives that can take him down.

John Kasich behaved like a noisy child.

Carly Fiorina was good, but her time has passed.

Ron Paul was great at starting arguments, which he then lost.

Jeb Bush was his underwhelming self.

And Ben Carson was pathetic. He showed he really couldn’t be more specific in discussing the Middle East than to say that “there are a lot of factions,” running around. He gave no indication of the strength or knowledge a president must have to serve effectively.

Also see,

Maddow Does Not Mention Emails in Democratic Debate

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