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Interpreting the Powerful Sparks at Outstanding GOP Debate

If you tuned into the NBA All-Star game instead, or were simply unlucky enough to miss the GOP debate this past Saturday night, you missed one of the best debates in a long long time. As all the candidates came out swinging early, hard, and often, as they made their case in the highly contentious primary state of South Carolina. Here is a look at how each candidate fared during the outstanding GOP debate, and predictions about how each candidate will fare in the South Carolina Primary.

Dr. Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson came limping out of New Hampshire, winning only 2.3% of the vote and finishing a disappointing 8th in the state. Leading many pundits to assume that Carson's campaign might close up shop early. Yet, while Carson decided to stay in the race in the hopes that a strong debate performance in South Carolina coupled with the state's deep conservative political leanings might propel him back into relevancy.

Given the emotional and contentious tone of the South Carolina GOP debate, Carson often looked out of place. As his calm and soft demeanor was too often seen as a lack of assertiveness and indecisiveness, that saw Carson become one of the weakest candidates on the debate stage. A performance that certainly will result in the end of his campaign. As it led many voters to question Carson's ability to lead in a time when America so desperately needs a strong, assertive hand at the wheel.

Prediction: Carson will finish last in South Carolina, resulting in the termination of his campaign.  

John Kasich

As a moderate who constantly spends more time on the debate stage complaining about the tone of politics rather than engaging in them, John Kasich for many conservatives is a politician from a bygone era who doesn't quite grasp the situation of the country and more importantly the mood of the American electorate with its current distaste for compromisers. However, despite John Kasich's flaws he did have a fairly strong debate, as his overtures for unity and his candid in touch reactions to the entertaining verbal wars that erupted constantly between Jeb Bush and Donald Trump continued to play off well to voters.

Yet, it is precisely John Kasich's unwillingness to fight and engage with his opponents more directly that continues to hurt the Governor of Ohio's chances. As his message is too often drowned out by the loud antics of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, or the subtly brilliant and absolutely devastating attacks consistently launched by both Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio at their various opponents. 

Prediction: Despite John Kasich's perceived momentum coming out of New Hampshire, he will finish fourth in South Carolina. Putting the viability of the continuation of his campaign in serious jeopardy

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush and his verbal wars with frontrunner Donald Trump definitely stole the show at the South Carolina GOP debate this past Saturday. However, despite a stronger more assertive Jeb Bush, he continued the pattern of getting the short end of the stick in his confrontations with Trump. As Jeb Bush consistently looked definitively flustered and frustrated by Trump's ability to out-dual him during their war of words. With the funniest moment of the debate being when Jeb Bush insisted that while he has differences with his family when it comes to politics and the decisions his father and brother made during their time as President, he is proud to be a Bush and he is sick and tired of Donald Trump going after his family, especially his mother. Stating: 

"I won the lottery when I was born 63 years ago, and I looked up and I saw my Mom. My Mom is the strongest woman I know." 

To which Donald Trump deftly replied:

"Then she should be running."

Highlighting the damaging caricature that has been painted, correctly in my mind, by many in the media of Jeb Bush. That he is a candidate who is completely out of touch with the Republican electorate, and he is completely overwhelmed by the incivility of the political climate currently found in American politics. To the point that his ability to lead in these difficult times is seriously and legitimately in doubt.

Yet, not only did Jeb Bush once again demonstrate with Trump's eager help, that he doesn't have the fortitude necessary to be President of the United States in 2016, he also lost to Trump on the critical issue of what to do with Russia in Syria. [READ MORE HERE] A loss to the most policy deficient candidate in all of American political history that will surely do irreparable damage to Jeb Bush in South Carolina.

Prediction: Jeb Bush will finish fifth in South Carolina, leading to the termination of his campaign. 

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio was not his fluent talkative self in South Carolina, where during the GOP debate he was squeezed out by more verbose and entertaining candidates. Meaning that while Rubio certainly did not perform poorly, and in fact he continued to solidify his reputation as a strong debater, he simply did not do as well as he could have. 

This was no more evident then when Ted Cruz pounced on Marco Rubio over the Florida Senator's backing of what has become infamously known as the Schumer-Rubio Amnesty Bill. An exchange that Rubio knows he has, did, and will continue to consitently lose with Cruz, leaving him no other choice but to personally attack Cruz as a liar. Instead of admitting that he did in fact stand with the Schumer led Democrats and President Barack Obama in their attempt to grant illegal immigrants amnesty and citizenship, and stating that it was a mistake. 

This is why Rubio consistently attempts to shift the debate away from his policy regarding how to handle illegal immigrants, and towards his policy on how best to secure the southern border. Stating over and over again that there is no point in talking about immigration policy, because the American people won't trust the federal government to handle the issue properly until the southern border is secured. Attempting to prevent any light from being shed on what he plans to do once the border is indeed secured. Raising suspicions in conservative South Carolina, a state where illegal immigration is a key issue, that Marco Rubio will not handle the question of what to do with illegal immigrants constitutionally or conservatively. 

Prediction: Marco Rubio will come in third in South Carolina, and his campaign will continue on perhaps until the Republican Convention.  

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz is an absolute shark. 

Ted Cruz may not have been the most verbose and entertaining of the all the candidates, but he was certainly the most presidential and effective. In an exchange with Marco Rubio over immigration, Ted Cruz was so effectively able to make the case that he was the true conservative on the issue and Rubio was not. That the normally eloquent and calm Rubio, was seen doing his best impression of a Trumper-tantrum. 

Yet, the most important accomplishment of the night for Cruz, was that despite the media still not giving him the respect he deserves as a legitimate candidate, and despite the clear anti-Cruz agenda prevalent in the coverage by CBS News during the debate. With the moderator immediately and rudely interrupting Cruz over a very minor detail during his opening statements, prompting the entire place to erupt in boos over the moderators inappropriate actions. As well as the debate highlights being cut so that Rubio's Trumper-tantrum in which he personally and falsely insulted Ted Cruz as a liar, despite Cruz having won the exchange, being made to look legitimate and as if Rubio was the winner of their exchange over immigration. Cruz was able to deal a damaging blow to the most Teflon candidate in recent American political history, Donald Trump. 

Ted Cruz was not only able to calmly and assertively drive home his attacks on Trump, as Trump in contrast flailed around like a child having a temper tantrum, at the end pouting like a three year old who had just been denied a cookie by his parent. Ted Cruz was able to successfully get Trump to admit on the debate stage, despite Trump consistently denying it just second earlier, asking Cruz over and over "Where did I support it?"  That Trump was indeed in favor of funding Planned Parenthood. A despicable organization, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, that has engaged in the darkest of black markets, having sold, currently selling, and in new videos recently released continue to attempt to sell fetuses, and tissue and body parts of aborted children to Americans. 

With Trump admitting: "They do wonderful things when it comes to women's health."

Proving on national television what Ted Cruz has said all along, that Donald Trump is not a conservative and in fact does have New York values. 

You can see the full exchange here:

Prediction: Ted Cruz will finish first in South Carolina. 

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is by far the most entertaining candidate that has ever run for political office in American history, and is by far the candidate that best openly and consistently reflects the American people's anger over what has been happening in Washington and in American politics since the attacks on 9/11. However, Donald Trump is also the most out of control and policy deficient candidate to ever run for American political office.

His out of control nature was no better displayed than this past Saturday night, as he threw insults and levied personal attacks against anyone and everyone who would dare challenge him. Yet, while this is what we have come to expect from the Donald, the amount of pure seething anger that came forth as his white skin turned a deep shade of red just like an evil cartoon character, was something that we have never seen before from Trump, at least not to such an extent. Demonstrating to the voters what his opponents have been stating all along, that Donald Trump simply does not have the temperament necessary to be commander-in-chief of the American Armed Forces. 

Moreover, while Trump bested an opponent while debating a substantive matter of policy, for the first time in his political career. Making Jeb Bush look foolish in his statements about what American should do with Assad, Russia, and ISIS in Syria. Donald Trump nonetheless had a poor debate performance. As even the moderator from the Wall Street Journal Kimberly Strassel finally held Trump accountable for his platform. Asking him how, beyond wishing it and simply stating I will make America great again, he plans to actually fund what he hopes to accomplish in the areas of social security and healthcare. Sighting a study that made it clear that it would take more than an incomprehensible 11% economic growth in the country's GDP per year to fund Trump's proposals. Despite the fact that just last year, the nation's GDP growth was stagnant. To which Donald Trump had no answer, aside from stating that it will work because I say so. 

Not only that, but in a deep red state like South Carolina, Donald Trump made his biggest mistake yet, lending support and suggesting that he would indeed provide funding to Planned Parenthood. 
Prediction: Donald Trump will finish second in South Carolina. As his debate performance mistakes, coupled with an even stronger anti-Trump sentiment than the one reflected in the Iowa Caucuses propels Cruz to the victory in South Carolina. 

Think Aboot It.