Friday, April 12, 2024

Comentarios from Maria: Who Is Tougher and More Manly


Last Week’s Republican debate was a contest reminiscent of a “Saturday Night Live” skit entitled “¿Quien es mas macho?” In Spanish that means who is tougher and more manly. Sadly, we need much more than a macho man or woman. In the case of the presidency, that would mean a leader focused on solutions, not divisions, someone who appeals to the better angels of our nature and challenges us to be the best of ourselves, not goad us to be the worst of ourselves. We didn’t see that leader on stage.

But we did see a debate that did little to change the course of the Republican primary process. Donald Trump did well enough, deflecting, doubling down, ridiculing Jeb Bush with good one-liners. He even committed to run as a Republican, speaking deferentially about Republican leadership…while continuing to be a thorn in their side. It was a deft move. He will continue to maintain his massive lead over the rest of the field nationally and in most states.

Marco Rubio had a terrific debate and will move up in the polls. Ted Cruz did well as he and Rubio mixed it up during a robust back and forth about surveillance vs. privacy, isolationism vs. hawkishness, and on immigration reform. Ironically, while they gave the GOP mainstream what it was looking for, these two Latino candidates have alienated Latinos with extreme positions on immigration, minimum wage, health care and other key economic issues important to this rising minority.

Jeb Bush perhaps had his most lively debate to date, going after Trump like a man who had nothing to lose – because he has already lost. He had a good one-liner saying Trump was the “chaos” candidate. But the GOP base has made up its mind about Jeb and he does not measure up to what they want and need this cycle. Jeb is right that Trump cannot insult his way to the presidency, but he may well be able to insult his way to the GOP nomination.

Ben Carson proved why he is free-falling in the polls. Every time he spoke, it was tough to decipher what he was talking about and when he wasn’t speaking, he was forgettable.

Carly Fiorina showed once again that she belonged on that stage, but as much as she tried, she didn’t give folks reason enough to support her over her colleagues.

Chris Christie clawed his way back to the mainstage and demonstrated the grit that his supporters love. His momentum is coming at the right time and he can be a real player in New Hampshire. It will be difficult for him to be a player in any of the other key early states however, or in any other region in the country. His rise will be ephemeral.

In the end, it was several candidates trying to outgun one another, trying to prove they are the toughest, meanest, most bad-ass leaders that would destroy ISIS in their tracks, and not let in any Muslim terrorists masquerading as refugees.

The GOP nominee will have a tough time appealing beyond the base to mainstream America and all of its diverse communities, and ultimately winning the White House.

Winner: Rubio, but Trump by default because this won’t change his lead in polls.

Loser: Carson, but Bush by default because even though he had his best night yet it won’t make a difference

This article originally appeared in the Washington Hispanic