March 3 Is Make or Break: The Fox News Debate Preview

By: Guest Writer Chris Antonello

Super Tuesday is here, and Donald Drumpf (thank you John Oliver) is competitive in every state. But anti-Trump Republicans refuse to give up. As it stands right now, most polls have Trump leading with Rubio favored for second place and Cruz a bit further behind. The only major exception is Texas, where Cruz has a commanding lead over all of his competitors.

I could discuss the details of delegates and all, but let’s face it: this primary has become a reality TV show; we’re going for utter shock here, people. Sure, pretending not to know who David Duke is or reading your opponent’s mean tweets will get you some buzz, but what’s the best way to get attention? A debate. But not just any debate. The Fox News Channel debate on Thursday, March 3. There’s going to be a ton of drama, so get your popcorn ready.

First of all, Megyn Kelly, whom Trump used as an excuse to boycott the last FNC debate in Iowa, will once again be moderating. It’s going to be interesting to see how much of the show becomes about the two of them.

Thursday will mark a week since Marco Rubio unveiled a different side of himself, a side that’s not afraid to lay into Trump. And the Donald didn’t like it (recall his numerous typo-ridden tweets the next morning). Ever since then, Rubio has been relentless on the trail in attacking the real estate mogul for being a “con artist” who wants to hijack the conservative movement. In fact, Rubio has been talking so much about the businessman’s orange face and weird hands that he’s lost his voice.

This is beyond bad for Marco.

One of my main critiques of Rubio’s attacks at the last debate was that he let Trump talk over him. His number-one zinger about selling watches in Manhattan was muffled by the Donald shouting, “NO, NO, NO, NO!” Rubio already has a higher, less projecting voice than Trump. Plus he’s quite a bit shorter, and, let’s face it, he sweats more and his mouth gets drier. Ever since the first televised debates back in the 1960s, stage presence has been of utmost importance. A candidate who appears well put-together and strong tends to be more successful than one who sweats profusely and looks feeble compared to his opponents. A lost voice could be all Trump needs to be the apparent winner of Thursday’s debate. I can see the tweets now: “Chocker Marco Rubio lost his voice telling lies abowt me! #AlwaysTrump.” Rubio had better be prepared to top his previous performance, and to get some real heat from the tantrum-prone Donald Trump.

As for Ted Cruz, even if he wins in Texas, this debate could be his last stand. He has to prove that he can still win over those precious evangelical votes, and more. He has to make the case that, despite falling behind Rubio in most polls, he’s still the one to beat Trump. He may end up with more delegates than Rubio at the end of tonight, but Rubio is much more competitive going forward.

Oh, and apparently two other guys are still running? If Ben Carson’s campaign even makes it past Super Tuesday, his debate performance will be the same as before: he’ll lull in and out of consciousness, and when he gets asked a question, he’ll complain that he doesn’t get enough speaking time, which is probably valid. And John Kasich (dear Lord) will continue with his inspiring but also unending remarks about his vision for the future of the country. I mean, seriously, he’s a human run-on sentence.

One thing I can say for sure: Don’t count out any of the top three candidates yet.

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