GOP Debate Wrap-Up

[Content Note: Misogyny; racism; homophobia; transphobia; anti-immigrationism; war on agency; class warfare; militarism.]

image of the ten Republican participants of the debate last night, to which I've added text reading WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE.
[L-R: Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump,
Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich.]

So the first Republican debate was last night, and it was even more terrible than I even imagined it would be. And I have a very expansive imagination when it comes to Republicans being terrible!

If you didn't watch it, but would like to read a transcript, the Washington Post has a full transcript available here.

I also live-tweeted the debate, and if you missed my live-tweeting would like to read it, I Storified all my tweets, and that is available here. (With bonus cute Dudley pix!)

The debate got off to an amazing start, with Fox News moderator Bret Baier asking: "Gentlemen, we know how much you love hand-raising questions. So we promise, this is the only one tonight—the only one. Is there anyone on stage, and can I see hands, who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person? Again, we're looking for you to raise your hand now—raise your hand now if you won't make that pledge tonight."

And you know who raised his goddamn hand!

image of Donald Trump raising his hand

[CN: Video autoplays at link] The crowd absolutely went wild, a mix of cheers and boos, as Trump stood there looking smug and shrugging his shoulders, then said: "I cannot say. I have to respect the person that, if it's not me, the person that wins, if I do win, and I'm leading by quite a bit, that's what I want to do. I can totally make that pledge. If I'm the nominee, I will pledge I will not run as an independent. But—and I am discussing it with everybody, but I'm, you know, talking about a lot of leverage. We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican. I want to run as the Republican nominee."

So, basically, he won't run as an Independent if he's the Republican nominee. Well, no shit, Sherlock! So vote for Trump, Republican primary voters, if you don't want him to mount a third-party run and hand the White House to the Democrats! Let him hand the White House to the Democrats as your nominee instead!

Trump continued to be the centerpiece of the horror show as the debate went on, bragging at one point about making a fuckload of money in Atlantic City and then abandoning the place (thus leaving all his local employees jobless) before the whole city's economy went to shit. Basically: "I know how to exploit American workers to maximize my personal wealth better than anyone!" At another point, he had this exchange with Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly:

Kelly: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like: Fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals. [audience laughter] Your Twitter account...

Trump: Only Rosie O'Donnell. [enormous audience laughter and applause]

Kelly: No, it wasn't. Your Twitter account...

Trump: Thank you.

Kelly: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell.

Trump: Yes, I'm sure it was.

Kelly: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?

Trump: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. [applause and cheers] I've been challenged by so many people, and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don't win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico, both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody. And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it's fun, it's kidding—we have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry. I've been very nice to you—although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn't do that. [gasps and applause] But you know what, we—we need strength, we need energy, we need quickness, and we need brain in this country to turn it around. That, I can tell you right now.
I mean.

I've been saying for quite some time now that Trump's big contribution to this primary is to make the other candidates look reasonable. And that is precisely what he did last night, despite the fact that there ain't a dime's worth of decency between 'em.

By comparison to the bombastic, utterly contemptible Trump, the rest of the field looked comparatively measured and thoughtful, even as they took turns disgorging entirely typical conservative swill.

But, make no mistake, despite the Trump Sideshow, it was just another exercise in Republican Disdain for Humankind Cloaked in Heartland Anecdotes.

In other words: Same old, same old.

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