The GOP debate: the format, the issues, and the candidates


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“There is a right way and a wrong way, always choose the right way.”  Abraham Sabrin (1914-2001)

The first GOP presidential debate featured eight candidates with former president Donald Trump a no-show. Despite having a huge lead in the polls, he decided to skip this debate and next month’s debate at the Reagan library. Some pundits assert Trump’s decision was correct, namely, why should he appear to be pummeled by other candidates on a national stage? By not participating in Thursday’s debate Trump effectively implied he does not need to mix it up with DeSantis, Pence, Vivek,, and therefore he is “entitled” to the Republican presidential nomination.

Having eight candidates on the stage sucks. There should be no more than four candidates on a debate stage. When I sought the New Jersey GOP US Senate nomination several times, I was one of four candidates twice and one of three candidates once. We all had sufficient time to answer questions from the moderators and everyone had sufficient time to showcase their policy proposals.

I therefore suggest that if there are eight candidates at next month’s debate, there should be two debates with four candidates in an hour long debate. More questions for the candidates and follow up by the moderators. The criteria for each debate could be by lottery or the top four candidates in the polls could be bracketed and the bottom four could debate together.

As far as the candidates and the issues, here is my take.

Chris Christie boasted he cut New Jersey’s debt, which he blamed on his Democratic predecessors. He failed to mention that the last Republican governor in the Garden State, Christie Todd Whitman, floated a $2.8 billion bond issue to fund the state workers’ pension system. As the Libertarian Party candidate in 1997 I criticized her reckless increase in debt in the three debates I participated with the governor and Democratic candidate Jim McGreevey. She put New Jersey in a horrible fiscal hole.

Christie’s unequivocally supported more aid for Ukraine because the US has to stop Russia otherwise “we will be next.” Really? Pure neoconservative bullshit. The moderators did not challenge him on his assertion.

Tim Scott did not have any memorable remarks that I can recall. He failed to mention the Federal Reserve is responsible for the spike in inflation last year.

Nikki Haley stated an inconvenient truth, Trump increased spending and the debt by trillions of dollars. Good for her. However, she is an uber warmonger. Her support for more Ukraine aid is despicable. More than $100 billion is not enough? Haley was Trump’s UN ambassador. Why does she not call for diplomacy to end the carnage in Ukraine?

Pence was “aggressive” and was vying with Haley for the title of best GOP presidential candidate warmonger. He also was condescending toward Vivek, criticizing his youth and inexperience in government. Like old farts who have been in government for decades are the answer to the problems facing the country?

Hutchinson made a good point, reduce the federal workforce by at least 10 percent. The real issue is the unconstitutional spending that both parties have supported for decades. In other words, the welfare-warfare state is the problem.

No one used that term, which is a not only a memorable sound bite, but is easily explainable.

North Dakota Doug Burgum would make a good VP candidate, because he mentioned the 10th amendment, which would diffuse many contentious issues in DC by having the states and the people deal with them.

Vivek had a very good debate. He was forceful, articulate and a critique of Ukraine aid.

DeSantis had a very goodnight as well. There was no slip up and he held his own. He pointed out that Florida’s school’s were opened quickly and businesses as well.

No one mentioned the Federal Reserve’s responsibility for printing trillions of dollars in 2020 and 2021 and thus causing the price inflation of 2022, which has since moderated.

Any candidate who took on the Fed like Ron Paul did in his 2008 and 2012 presidential bids could have taken the spotlight with a “populist” message—the financial and political elites love money printing.

What a missed opportunity!

The climate change issue came up and no one mentioned that CO2 is not a pollutant but necessary for plant life to thrive. One of the candidates could have demolished the climate change fear mongers by citing the research available at the Again, a missed opportunity.

Will the debates change the GOP voters support for Trump who is leading the field according in the polls with more than 50 percent? That is the question that will be answered by early next year.


My latest piece on the economy was published in Fortune,  This is an update of my 2021 forecast, 


Murray Sabrin, PhD, is emeritus professor of finance, Ramapo College of New Jersey. Dr. Sabrin is considered a “public intellectual” for writing about the economy in scholarly and popular publications. His new book, The Finance of Health Care: Wellness and Innovative Approaches to Employee Medical Insurance (Business Expert Press, Oct. 24, 2022), and his other BEP publication, Navigating the Boom/Bust Cycle: An Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide (October 2021), provides decision makers with tools needed to help manage their businesses during the business cycle.  Sabrin’s autobiography, From Immigrant to Public Intellectual: An American Story, was published in November, 2022.

Murray’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

What do you think?

Written by CONK!


The GOP Debate is This Evening!


August 24, 1968