If you thought the 2024 GOP primary debate was going to be a blockbuster, let me tell you—it was more of a blooper reel. As the contenders struggled for the spotlight, they only succeeded in reminding us why Trump still looms large in the GOP narrative. Let’s unpack it.
Wednesday’s spectacle had all the ingredients for a memorable face-off, with seven men and one woman locked in combat. But instead of the sparks we anticipated, it felt more like a tribute band trying to recreate the hits of its more famous inspiration. In this case, the missing rockstar was none other than Donald Trump, who decided to shine elsewhere with a pre-recorded Twitter interview. Trust Trump to still be the talk of the town, even when he’s not in the room.
Now, let’s give credit where credit’s due. Fox moderators tried to keep things on track, diving into serious issues ranging from climate change to rising crime rates. But most candidates seemed more keen on scoring points against each other than addressing these grave concerns.
A shining moment was Nikki Haley’s candid stance on abortion—a breath of fresh air amidst a suffocating atmosphere. Yet, the star of the night—though not for the right reasons—was undoubtedly investment mogul Vivek Ramaswamy. With a vigor and cadence reminiscent of our favorite tweets, he went full-on Trump 2.0, with a barrage of attention-grabbing (and often outrageous) comments. The only difference? It felt more like a farce than an authentic performance.
Oh, and then there’s DeSantis. Once hailed as the next conservative beacon, he seemed more like a flickering candle next to Ramaswamy’s fireworks. His rehearsed lines, loud proclamations, and refusal to touch the Trump dilemma with a ten-foot pole only left viewers exasperated.
Millennials, I have to ask: If Trump is the original, why settle for a knock-off? Ramaswamy might be pitching himself as the Trump Mini-Me, but when the base has its eyes set on the real deal, these antics just seem a desperate grasp for relevance.
DeSantis’ dodging and dancing around Trump’s legacy only confirmed what we all knew: Trump’s shadow still looms large over the GOP. Despite all the drama, this debate seemed to change nothing. If anything, it strengthened Trump’s hold on the narrative, even in his absence.
While Haley, Pence, and Scott may have gained a slight edge, the GOP debate reinforced the idea that the party’s still stuck in a Trump-centric vortex. Will they ever find their way out? The road to 2024 seems long and winding. But one thing’s for sure: if this debate was meant to be a game-changer, it fell far short of the mark.