The 2016 GOP Debaters, Ranked From Certifiably Nuts To Just A Little Loony

After much anticipation, on Tuesday, Fox News announced which 10 presidential candidates will join the first Republican debate on Thursday night. The network based its decision on the average of five recent national polls of its choosing, and the final list includes some of the most contentious candidates in the Republican field. While the motley mix is varied enough that some of the debate will be grounded in reason (but not much), expect a substantial amount of crazy to project from those podiums. In fact, the 10 candidates comprise a pretty uniform spectrum of nutso, with one very extreme outlier.

Using the top averages from polls conducted by Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Monmouth University, and Quinnipiac University, Fox News determined the following lineup for the first Republican primary debate:

  1. Donald Trump (23.4 percent)
  2. Jeb Bush (12.0 percent)
  3. Scott Walker (10.2 percent)
  4. Mike Huckabee (6.6 percent)
  5. Ben Carson (5.8 percent)
  6. Ted Cruz (5.4 percent)
  7. Marco Rubio (5.4 percent)
  8. Rand Paul (4.8 percent)
  9. Chris Christie (3.4 percent)
  10. John Kasich (3.2 percent)

On Thursday at 9 p.m. EST, these 10 hopefuls vying for the Republican nomination will weigh in on topics like climate change, Iran, and Planned Parenthood, but "weigh in" might be putting it mildly for some participants. "Duke it out" or "show his wrath" might be more appropriate for a certain few. Fox News hosts and debate moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace have their work cut out for them. And somewhere Fox News President Roger Ailes is seeing dollar signs because the expected drama might make this the network's highest-rated debate yet.

Here is a ranking of the GOP debate participants, from the number one definitely bananas to the number 10 just regular bananas.

Donald Trump

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Obviously, Trump is the clear outlier here. In fact, he's not even on the scale — he's way past the highest Notch of Nuts. If his extensive treasure trove of crazy that he calls his Twitter feed wasn't evidence enough, then there are the numerous gems of lunacy from his campaign announcement speech. There are also multiple feuds to choose from, which went from other entertainers, like Rosie O'Donnell and rapper Mac Miller, to his political opponents, the most notable of which is Lindsey Graham, whose cell phone number Trump gave out to the public.

Ted Cruz

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After the wide gap that separates Trump from the rest of the debaters is Ted Cruz, who does make it onto the official scale. Already nicknamed "Wacko Bird" long before he entered the 2016 race, Cruz has made his own fair share of nonsensical utterances. For example?


Oh, and there was that time he read Green Eggs and Ham from the Senate floor during his marathon filibuster against Obamacare.

Mike Huckabee

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He might have once been known for his brand of Southern eccentricity, but after he compared the Obama administration's Iran nuclear deal to the Holocaust, well, now he's just batsh*t crazy.

Ben Carson

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The former neurosurgeon will probably never live down his comment about gay rights. In March, he told CNN that homosexuality is a choice, rationalizing that people "go into prison straight — and when they come out, they're gay." Mmmkay.

Rand Paul

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Though the Kentucky senator hasn't made as many gaffes as the rest of the bunch, he did show his true colors when he shushed a female CNBC anchor during an interview, telling her to "calm down." Here's hoping Paul pulls the same "shh" tactic on Trump during the debates. It'd be like pure theater.

Scott Walker

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At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Walker compared fighting ISIS to fighting union protesters, declaring that he was prepared to take on the militant organization by saying:

Maybe during the debate, Walker will compare his economic policy to that time he scored a Ralph Lauren polo shirt on clearance at Macy's.

Chris Christie

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The infamously gruff New Jersey governor and subject of the Bridgegate scandal is less crazy than he is just loud. It shouldn't surprise anyone if the debate devolved into a shouting match between Christie and Trump.

Marco Rubio

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Besides his penchant for drinking out of tiny bottles of Poland Springs, Rubio is also known for making some statements that would make the craziest religious fanatics say, "Whoa, easy there." For example, he told the students of Ave Maria University's law school in Florida during his commencement speech:

He also has no idea how old the Earth is.

Jeb Bush

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There was a time when his older brother reigned supreme in the land of crazy, but the Bush family has fallen behind. In this current group of candidates, Jeb Bush is actually relatively sane. He might not be the most progressive politician, but at least his positions are based on reason and experience.

That said, those women's health care remarks? They're flat out nuts.

John Kasich

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We simply haven't seen enough of this person to fairly call him crazy, so he's last on my list of lunatics (for now).