Why Carly Fiorina Was Sorely Missed In The Primetime GOP Debate

Thursday night's intense primary GOP debate was fast-paced and definitely entertaining, but there seemed to be a certain something missing from the main stage — or perhaps, a certain someone. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was relegated to the undercard debate due to low polling numbers, but the evidence that Carly Fiorina belonged at the primetime GOP debate piled up throughout the night.

A big part of the reason Fiorina needs to be among the varsity squad is to contend with Donald Trump. Fiorina hasn't polled particularly well throughout her entire campaign, and at this point, her chance of winning the nomination is nearly non-existent. Now, the most effective use of her time is devaluing Trump as much as possible. They have similar career backgrounds, which gives perspective to both candidates' policy proposals by negating the "Washington outsider" angle. Without that logically fallible crutch, each of their political plans can be more easily scrutinized for their actual strengths and weaknesses.

Fiorina is also a strong counter-balance to Trump's "yuge" personality — Trump looks like more of a character when Fiorina is around. Where Trump is "the loudest voice in the room," Fiorina draws a stark contrast with her calm, even-tempered precision and delivery, which is more evocative of a CEO and president. Throw in Fiorina's gift for one-liners, which Trump is noticeably lacking, and she's the yin to his ridiculous yang.

There's also, obviously, the need for a woman on stage. To paraphrase Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it's 2016 — a stage full of only men can't really be ignored as non-problematic anymore. When that group of seven men is supposed to be representative of American leadership, and therefore, representative of the American people, there's a serious problem. And while adding a single white woman into the mix isn't exactly fixing the diversity problem, it's at least a small baby step in the right direction. Not to mention the GOP's desperate need to prove that it's not sexist. So just for the female aspect, Fiorina should have been included.

Finally, Fiorina's undercard competitors were simply no match for her. She decisively crushed Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, trading on her ongoing beef with Hillary Clinton and her media visibility to dominate the conversation, in person and online. Experienced from years of boardroom battles, Fiorina knows how to be in charge, and she put that skill to work on Thursday night. Unfortunately, it was pretty much wasted on the small potatoes.

Carly Fiorina is a skilled debater and she pulled off another great showing in Charleston, proving that she's still got skin in the game. There's no telling yet what will happen to Fiorina's polling numbers following Thursday night's debate, but hopefully she'll earn her way back up to the top tier where she belongs.