AUGUST 4, 2015
Fox News today announced the names of the ten participants in Thursday’s main-stage GOP debate set to begin at 9pm ET. Based on the average of national polling of the popularity of the contenders, the Top 10 are (in descending order) Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich.
Former TX governor Rick Perry, who had sought redemption after his notorious debate performance in 2012, fell victim to a late surge by Kasich and will be relegated to an earlier candidate forum set for 5pm ET, along with Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore.
At first glance, the candidate with the greatest upside for this debate is arguably Kasich, who holds many of the same positions as Jeb Bush without the problematic last name and could be the establishment alternative should Jeb continue to falter. Christie also could do himself enormous good on the stage with a calm solution-filled presentation which would help counteract his reputation as a schoolyard bully.
But let’s face it, this debate is going to be all about Trump, Trump and nothing but Trump. He’s already rattled the cage, so people are paying attention. Now is his best chance to convince those viewers that he could be a plausible President. If that is indeed the case, Trump may have the steepest hill to climb of any the candidates on that stage.