Who won last night's Republican presidential debate?

UPDATE for Feb 6th debate:

This post was originally written for the previous GOP debate. Here are a few comments on last night's debate.

I watched the debate at a debate watching party of DFL activists, so naturally I saw very little of it because we were a loud and raucous crowd. But this morning I re-watched portions of the debate, and checked out the online commentary and polls.

Once again, most of the commentary by experts has little to do with the on line polls. The on line polls show Trump as having won by a huge landslide, while the experts are talking about this or that lower level candidate having done better than expected, etc. etc.

One of the key features of last night's debate was the attack on Rubio by various lower level candidates, including Christie. Rubio was just starting to emerge from the back and of the pack over the last few weeks. But, last night, he was effectively eaten by his fellow Republicans, and contributed himself to his own demise. So, he was a big loser. I loved his repeated spirited defense of President Obama's administration. Rubio made a great case that the President has helped move our country in line with other countries in a lot of ways that people of all political persuasions, in their heart of hearts (for those that have hearts) really want. Good going Marco!

It is possible that the biggest winner of the GOP debate, given all the infighting, was actually the Democratic Party.

ORIGINAL POST

Just a quick comment about last night's debate.

As you know, Donald Trump did not show up at last night's GOP debate. Yet, online polls not only show him winning, but winning by a larger margin than most earlier post-debate online polls.

In addition, much of the conversation during the debate, according to reports, was about Donald Trump, who was not there.

Political commenters over the last few days, commenters who often get things right, said that not showing up last night would hurt Trump more than helping. That did not happen. This election year, in relation to the GOP primary contest, has involved a very large gap between what experts say and what people actually do, a larger gap than usual.

One way we know Trump won the debate he didn't show up for is that most debate polling web pages included him anyway.

On the one page where Trump was not included, Paul was far ahead of the other candidates. This tells us something, perhaps, about the overlap between Trump and Paul in either a) who supports the candidate or b) how good the supporters of the candidate are at gaming the online polls.

I'm very interested to see what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire, in both parties. We've been watching the polls, regular and on line, for weeks now. I strongly suspect that this is one of those years where people who actually go in to the process and participate will be a different group than those who clickity click buttons on line or even answer polling questions. I do think Trump will do well in both primaries, but I suspect the overall pattern in those two states will be different than for online and scientifically done polls.

In the Democratic race, there has been a huge difference between what expert observers have said about who did well in the debates and what the post debate polls, especially on line polls, have shown, with Clinton winning the hearts and minds of observers and Sanders scoring big in the polls. How will this pattern be challenged in the actual caucus and primary votes coming up? This will be very interesting.

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"Yet, online polls not only show him winning, but winning by a larger margin than most earlier post-debate online polls."

Good gods that's hilarious!

"In addition, much of the conversation during the debate, according to reports, was about Donald Trump, who was not there."

That was a Facebook meme: people were joking about how the "debate" would consist only of talking about Trump.

This is how USA citizens are expected to choose one lone person to be granted the authority to use more than 1,300 atomic bombs and a world-wide delivery system....

By Desertphile (not verified) on 29 Jan 2016 #permalink

When I was an angry-ish adolescent, during a time of conflict at home, I stormed out of the house, so upset, that I did not want to go back home. I wanted to demonstrate just how mad I was about what was going on, and I was ready to burn my bridges behind me...until I had a good 24 hours to calm down, evaluate my situation and consider what that actually meant for my future.
I returned home the next day, humbled by reality.
Take this for whatever the metaphor may mean regarding the current GOP tantrum.

By skeptictmac57 (not verified) on 29 Jan 2016 #permalink

"That was a Facebook meme: people were joking about how the “debate” would consist only of talking about Trump."

Maybe, but at least one major news agency produces, as the top/first video summary of the debate, an edited sequence that is quite long consisting of 100% commentary about Trump. For many, that is what they'll get.

Also it appears that Cruz started his part of the debate with a diatribe about Trump. The point being, Trump controlled the conversation of all of the prior debates by being there. Last night he controlled the conversation (in and about) the debate, to a significant degree, by not being there!

See, skeptictmac57, you should have held out for 48 hours, as Trump has now demonstrated!

A strange game. It seems the only winning move is not to play.

My mailbox has been inundated with campaign materials. Some of it urges me to vote for one of the candidates (Hillary, Bernie, or occasionally Rubio). More of it encourages me to vote against one of the Republicans: Christie, Kasich, Rubio, or Cruz. I'm not surprised that Jeb has been spared; my understanding is that his PAC, which has money to burn, is behind most of the mailers. More surprising is that none of it has been anti-Trump, even though Trump has led the polls for close to six months now.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 29 Jan 2016 #permalink

Like Eric (above), we have been inundated, full mailbox, 2 polls, Hillary's people at our house twice, we have turned our cell phones off. However, I have received anti-Trump mailings. Got another one just today saying Trump supports killing third trimester babies. For whatever it's worth..... we will be caucusing for Bernie on Monday night.

It's a crazy world. I have been waiting 40 years for a real "democrat" since the Democratic party never could get one nominated. Barack Obama fooled a lot of people on the left (including me) but he turned out to be an establishment moderate Republican.

Trump certainly isn't a "Reagan conservative". He supports Social Security and Medicare, likes the idea of single-payer, wants to keep funding Planned Parenthood, and absolutely hates parts of Wall Street (hedge fund managers specifically). He doesn't have jesus tattoos on his neck.
Trump has 2 very smart college educated, career minded daughters. Don't be fooled..... he is not as anti-women as his rhetoric might suggest.

I have a golfing buddy that says he will vote for Trump in the general election of Bernie doesn't get a nomination. I know a lady that will vote for Bernie if Trump doesn't get a nomination.

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world and it's a ball to watch.

Did they do an Eastwood and put an empty chair on the stage and talk to it?

By Douglas C Alder (not verified) on 29 Jan 2016 #permalink

Monday night I'm going to pop me a big bowl of popcorn and sit and watch the show. It should be quite entertaining especially if Bernie wins :)

By Douglas C Alder (not verified) on 29 Jan 2016 #permalink

Maybe, but at least one major news agency produces, as the top/first video summary of the debate, an edited sequence that is quite long consisting of 100% commentary about Trump. For many, that is what they’ll get.

I meant it was a joke before it happened.

By Desertphile (not verified) on 30 Jan 2016 #permalink

Greg Laden: Also it appears that Cruz started his part of the debate with a diatribe about Trump. The point being, Trump controlled the conversation of all of the prior debates by being there. Last night he controlled the conversation (in and about) the debate, to a significant degree, by not being there!

I found his opening pretty funny. Paraphrasing: "I am a maniac. Everyone on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly. And you, Ben, are a terrible surgeon. Now that the Trump portion is out of the way..."

This is from news reports; I didn't watch the debate. From what I hear, though, there wasn't that much mention of the Trumpster.

By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 30 Jan 2016 #permalink

I would like to know why there is a fine if you don't have health insurance...if you can't afford insurance you can't afford the fine...there should be no fine.....

norma: "I would like to know why there is a fine if you don’t have health insurance…if you can’t afford insurance you can’t afford the fine…there should be no fine"

Er.... if one cannot afford health care insurance, there is not a fee (your "fine") one must pay. One may avoid the fee by filing a piece of paper with the IRS.

There is a fee of $95 per adult if one can afford health care insurance but does not have it; this is the social cost, per adult person (spread out over 330,000,000 people) to support people who do not have health care insurance.

https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/

By Desertphile (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

In reply to by norma (not verified)

Norma, there isn't a fine, though sometimes people mistakingly call the the "shared responsibility payment."

If you can't afford health insurance, you DO NOT PAY THIS. This is only if a) you CAN afford health insurance and b) elect to not buy it.

Now that we've established what it is (and isn't), why is it there?

Because insurance was unfair before. Many people of "prime age" and without health problems were simply not buying health insurance, and relying on ER visits etc. to cover any emergency needs, often not paying those bills and causing other problems.

It is like cars. Everybody has to have basic liability insurance when you have a car, right? Well, for health insurance to actually work, everybody has to have some kind of health insurance.

This fee is to encourage that.

Greg: " Well, for health insurance to actually work, everybody has to have some kind of health insurance."

Yes, and the health care coverage must also be adequate, to meet a basic standard. A bloody hell of a lot of USA citizens were paying for what they believed to be health care insurance but were not actually doing so.

Greg #12:

My research shows you do have to pay a fine, no matter your ability to pay.

Here is what I found:

"The annual fee for not having insurance in 2016 is $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (up to $2,085 for a family), or it's 2.5% of your household income above the tax return filing threshold for your filing status – whichever is greater."

The whichever is greater means even if no income, still assessed a fee.

Ricka: "My research shows you do have to pay a fine, no matter your ability to pay."

ROTFL! Yeah, Ricka, your research skills are well known to be impressive here and elsewhere. LOL!

If one cannot afford health care insurance, one need not and must not pay the non-compliance fee. The exemption form to fill out is available on the IRS web site, at many post offices, at many savings-and-loan locations, in tax software such as TurboTax, and at tax accountant offices.

https://www.healthcare.gov/health-coverage-exemptions/forms-how-to-appl…

By Desertphile (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

In reply to by RickA (not verified)

"Trump certainly isn’t a “Reagan conservative”"

The real Reagan wasn't what is now considered a Reagan conservative. He was only marginally different from Trump.

From understanding fees at the site healthcare dot gov

For some people, exemptions from the fee are available. People with very low incomes and those who meet other specific conditions can get an exemption from the requirement to have health insurance and won’t have to pay the fee. Learn more exemptions, and see if you qualify.

Link to the page with more information about exemptions.

https://www.healthcare.gov/health-coverage-exemptions/exemptions-from-t…

Dean, RickA is not very good when it comes to matters of law, you understand...

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 10 Oct 2016 #permalink

I notice that RickA didn't cite his "research." Seems intentional; very authoritarian, very convenient, very Trumpian.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 10 Oct 2016 #permalink

Obstreperous Applesauce: "I notice that RickA didn’t cite his “research.” Seems intentional; very authoritarian, very convenient, very Trumpian."

It takes almost 15 seconds to find the fee exemption form on-line; it takes almost 30 seconds to learn if one must pay the fee or not. This must have been much too hard for Ricka to accomplish.

By Desertphile (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Obstreperous A… (not verified)

My source was:

http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-individual-mandate/

Yes, you can apply for an exemption.

It is not automatic - which is how I understood Greg "If you can’t afford health insurance, you DO NOT PAY THIS." from #12 above.

I don't think Greg even mentioned the word "exemption".

I apologize for responding to what Greg said and not what he meant (my mind reading is a little rusty I guess).

If you apply for and qualify for an exemption you can be excused from the fee.

Ricka: "My source was: http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-individual-mandate/ Yes, you can apply for an exemption."

So are you admitting now that when you wrote that your research told you the fee is mandatory regardless of ability to pay, you lied?

By Desertphile (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

In reply to by RickA (not verified)

RickA, did you forget we can see exactly what you typed?

My research shows you do have to pay a fine, no matter your ability to pay.

Good god.

dean:

You are subject to the fine, unless you apply for and are granted an exemption.

I should have said the fine is assessed no matter your ability to pay.

I apologize and shall endeavor to be more accurate in the future.

In addition to what Greg said to Norma about the mandate for insurance, one of the key parts (and most important) is that the ACA got rid of the pre-existing condition clause that health insurance had been using to bankrupt people who had to change or had for some reason lost their insurance. They either became uninsurable or had to pay massive premiums. Either way, they ended up depleting their savings except for the very well off (rich) who could absorb the loss.
Once that clause was removed, if you had ability to opt out of health insurance while you were still healthy and young, why would you pay for it unless you were required to? You could then just game the system and wait until you needed medical help (such as type 2 diabetes or cancer), and then purchase it.
That's what's known in the conservative world as "freeloading" .
All in all, a single payer system would be better, but the U.S. will have to be dragged kicking and screaming before they will ever be able to achieve that.

By skeptictmac57 (not verified) on 10 Oct 2016 #permalink

"I should have said the fine is assessed no matter your ability to pay."

Holy fucking crap.

That's called "doubling down on stupid".

More than just Trump who cannot admit that he's flat-out wrong.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 10 Oct 2016 #permalink

dean:

Are you saying that every single person who cannot afford the insurance will get an exemption?

That seems to be what you are implying.

Yes - some people will be homeless, some will not and so forth for every single hardship exemption.

There is no exemption for not being able to afford the insurance - so not everyone who cannot afford the insurance will be granted an exemption.

I would say both Greg and I were a little unclear in what we meant and I have tried to correct my statement.

But even corrected - I would still say that not EVERY person who cannot afford insurance will be excused from paying the fee.

Some will not qualify for a hardship exemption - even though they cannot afford the insurance.

You are saying the fee is paid by everyone without insurance. Not true.

It is interesting to note this from rick's source:

The fee for not enrolling in a plan is a per month fee, not a yearly fee. You owe a fee for each month you aren’t enrolled in a plan (unless you obtain an exemption).

So his own source didn't support his original comment.

Desertphile:

No - I did not lie.

When I read what Greg wrote, I read it as saying that no one had to pay the fine who couldn't afford to buy the insurance.

First, I didn't understand that Greg was referring to an exemption to the fine which was levied.

So I clarified my comment.

I still do not agree that every person who cannot afford the insurance will be granted an exemption.

At most you could argue I was wrong - but I certainly had no intent to deceive.

But think what you want.

I am happy to let the lurkers read the thread and decide for themselves if I lied or not.

Good god rickA, do you always contort yourself so much in your attempts to argue that your flat-out-wrong statements weren't flat out wrong?

#33

Ever since he was five when he tried to convince his mommy that he didn't break that cookie jar -- and she bought it...

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

Guys, they teach the craft of deceptive rhetoric in law school; RickA has a law degree...

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

Guys, they teach the craft of deceptive rhetoric in law school; RickA has a law degree…

RickA isn't very good at deceptive rhetoric. Nobody is fooled, after all.

Well.. I never said he was a good student, now did I? :^)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink

(And we also know that RickA sucks as an engineer -- his other claimed degree.)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 11 Oct 2016 #permalink