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OPINION

The GOP Debate Proved Trump Is the Only Choice

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Brian Pfail

   On August 23rd, eight Republican candidates for the 2024 Republican Presidential Nomination took the debate stage to discuss various issues, policies, and cultural positions in trying to appeal to voters in the audience and at home. Vivek Ramaswamy stole the night, as his Trumpian positions on topics like foreign policy, economics, culture, and anti-establishment sentiment related to voters like no other candidate during the debate. Meanwhile, neoconservative shills such as Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, and Mike Pence struggled to garner voter attention, as they let a pharmaceutical business mogul with no political experience dominate them from start to finish. 

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Meanwhile, over on X, former President Donald Trump interviewed the most influential man in media, Tucker Carlson. The two talked about everything from the alleged murder of Jeffrey Epstein, the Russo-Ukrainian War, federal and judicial weaponization of the government against him, as well as the future of the party both with and without him. Viewers enjoy the banter, too, as it currently garners over 200 million views on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. If this is correct, it is the most-watched interview of its kind in history and one of the most entertaining of its kind. 

In two facets, Trump won the night. First, he countered the debate that was used against him by Fox News by sitting down with a man whom the mainstream media corporation wrongly split with and prompted to create the most popular interview in history. Tucker asked about everything the American voter would want to know about Trump, from his thoughts on his indictments, his opponents, the Biden administration, and the deep state. The former President was charismatic, hilarious, and filled with personality, showing no signs of slowing down going into 2024. All this was done while the debate was going on, and Trump’s influence on the debate stage was sorely missed as he became the main topic of conversation during the night. 

On multiple different occasions, Trump became the central topic of the debate. Once, the moderators asked the panel of candidates if they would support Trump if he were the nominee, even with his pending indictments. Most of the panel, besides Christie and Hutchinson, said they would, but only one candidate in Vivek said they would pardon Trump to move the country forward. Pence and Ramaswamy then went back and forth a bit about whether Trump would be convicted, but Pence still refused to say whether or not he would pardon. Even though Trump did not attend or participate in the debate, he holistically controlled the entire event's structure. Vivek complimented Trump by saying he was "the best president of the 21st century" during the event, clamoring to any Trump supporters that had tuned in after the Tucker Carlson interview on X. 

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Not only was a man in Vivek Ramaswamy copying Trump in style, finesse, and positioning, but he was taking all the brunt of attacks. Instead of a candidate like Ron DeSantis being hammered because he was polling at some of the highest averages on stage, Vivek was targeted because he was taking Trumpian positions in opposition to the rest of the establishment politicians on stage. Vivek was attacked because he wanted to constitute the new wing of the party that Trump helped create. While hardly any of his ideas were original in detail and mostly taken from the former President, it was Vivek versus the rest of the field solely because he held beliefs close to the former President. 

In addition, most of the debate centered around Trump. Whether it was nonsense attacks from establishment shills such as Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson or cowardly snide remarks from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, any viewer could tell that Donald Trump would still be the main topic of the night, even if he were not attending. The America First movement will not choose some Trump knockoff just because they stand out from the rest of the field and are bought and paid for by the establishment when they have the real thing standing there, ready to fight for them again. 

Donald Trump still controls the Republican Party and should be the Republican nominee 2024. Last night told that story in detail with its rejection of the old guard, and the GOP is more fired up for Trump than ever. 

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