How Many Debates Has Each GOP Candidate Been In? That Number Is Abysmally Low For A Couple Of Them
In just a few hours, Fox News will air the first Republican debate of the 2016 presidential cycle. The final roster of 10 candidates, which the network released on Tuesday, will take the stage at 9 p.m. Besides their political stances, the number of debates under each GOP candidate's belt also varies greatly. While the majority of them are seasoned career politicians, a few of them will be standing behind the debate podium for the first time. In fact, some of the primetime debaters have significantly less experience than some of the candidates who did not make the cut, which should make for some interesting discussions.
After taking the average from five national polls conducted by CBS News, Bloomberg, Fox News, Monmouth University, and Quinnipiac University, Fox News determined the top contenders who would be participating in the primetime debate: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.
Most of these are familiar names by now, but not all of them are familiar with debating — or politics, for that matter. On Thursday, Time release a report on its website that listed the debate count of each primetime candidate, and, according to the list, two of them have had zero debating experience. These men are essentially entering politics with their presidential bids, as if they're currently going through midlife crises that called for career switch-ups. (Couldn't you have just bought a red Ferrari like the rest of them and left politics to the professionals?) Luckily, the rest each have quite a few debates under their belts.
So how do the candidates break down? And which of these are not like the others? Hint: It's exactly who you'd expect.
Scott Walker: 65 Debates
Whoa, Nelly! How in the world did Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker accumulate 65 debates over the course of his career? I mean, sure, governors debate during gubernatorial election cycles, but 65? Even perennial candidate Harold Stassen would find that number daunting.
Jeb Bush: 25 Debates
Though he's participated in less than half the number of debates that Walker has, Bush is expected to be the standout among the bunch. However, he'll be walking onto the stage in defense mode, as his recent gaffe about spending on women's health issues will most certainly be brought up over the course of the night. He will need to somehow rectify that remark with grace, assert himself to make a mark, and prove that he can do it all while avoiding the Bushisms that his brother often fell prey to.
Ted Cruz: 24 Debates
Having been a star member of his Princeton Debate team, Cruz will be expected to perform well tonight. However, I'm guessing the format of his university debates was a little different, and that the opposing panel didn't include Donald Trump.
Mike Huckabee: 19 Debates
The typically amiable Huckabee has shown that once in a while, his rhetoric will veer to the dark side, and that's when the Holocaust comparisons come out. There's a chance this side of Huckabee will make an appearance during the debate, but seeing as this isn't his first rodeo, he might have the sense to keep the scarier rhetoric under control.
Chris Christie: 11 Debates
Chris Christie is fairly familiar with the debate process, but if there's one thing he's known for, it's his surly, volatile disposition and penchant for outbursts. America's counting on you to give The Donald a run for his money, Christie.
Rand Paul: 8 Debates
This is really bad timing for Rand Paul. Two senior officials for Paul's super PAC were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy and falsifying campaign records on Wednesday. Paul will have to remain calm if the scandal is mentioned, and he needs to avoid shushing anyone with all his might.
Marco Rubio: 7 Debates
Perhaps Marco Rubio's biggest problem is that he's Marco Rubio. He just doesn't look and act like presidential material, so that's where he should start — by proving America wrong.
Ben Carson: 0 Debates
Ben Carson is the only candidate in the debate who has less experience than Donald Trump, and not surprisingly, he's participated in zero debates prior to Thursday's big one. In fact, he only rejoined the Republican party last November, telling The Washington Times, "It’s truly a pragmatic move because I have to run in one party or another." Or you could just not run; there's that too.
Donald Trump: 0 Debates
It's safe to say that a large portion of those who will watch the primetime debate on Thursday are tuning in to watch what Donald Trump will do and say. He's the unofficial "star" of the whole affair, and he'll be expected to play the part. That means lots of bragging, not-so-subtle jabs at his opponents, and flimsy arguments disguised as impassioned statements.
At this stage of the election cycle, Trump can still get away with acting like himself without hurting his ratings, but soon enough America, and the Republican party, will require him to start acting serious. It might be in his best interests to start tonight, but I'm willing to bet he wouldn't let an outlet as major as this go to waste.