The stage was set for what would have beeen an entertaining evening for those who had no stake in the matter and a desperate evening for the Republican candidates who were out to make their first lustful stab at the 2016 Presidential bid.
As expected, there was a handful of major front-runners and a handful of space fillers but there were also more than a few surprises in store for viewers on the evening of Sept. 16, 2015.
Of all the shocks the evening had in store for political voyeurs such as myself, the most disheartening was the general blasé attitude exhibited by both Ben Carson and Jeb Bush–two major presidential hopefuls who, up until this primary, had been very vocal on a variety of subjects that included their general disdain for Donald Trump.
Sure, maybe they put up resistance when the flack flew their way but if this debate was indicative of the rest of their campaign then they are finished; they seem to have no fire or fight and that simply will not cut it in this great country of ours.
As always, Donald Trump was Donald Trump and I can’t help but wonder if, at this point, we should expect anything else from him.
I will say this for the Donald: the man has sand, a certain animal magnetism that makes you think, “Hey, he may not be politically correct or if he’s even politically competent but damnit, he certainly is inspiring. Quick, give the big ol’ orangutan a stick. He’ll defeat illegal immigration!” Then, like the ghost of Marie-Roget, Carly Fiorina happened and it all seemed to go downhill from there for Trump.
Like a teenager on his way to the prom after party, Trump, the man-child, reared his ugly head, overstepped his boundaries and made a fool out of himself in an attempt to save face with Fiorina. The lady of the evening would have none of it. Fiorina had come from behind to steal the crown from the king of the court.
This isn’t to say that she’s going to overtake the lead spot anytime soon, but it does give her a glimmer of hope when it comes to getting the bid for the presidency. Prior to the debate, he was barely cracking the top ten of the Republican field, settling in with the likes of Rick Santorum (which is a dubious distinction in and of itself) but immediately rocketed to sharing 11 percent of the votes with Marco Rubio.
Similar to Terry from “On the Waterfront,” Fiorina could very well be a contender. The real question is dependent on whether or not she can keep the momentum going, lest she become a bum.
According to her campaign website, under her leadership, Hewlett-Packard (HP) not only weathered the tech-recession, but rebounded and now is doing as well as they were doing pre-recession. Granted, this current growth came at the expense of 30,000 jobs (at the time) but she managed to keep her company afloat long enough to rebound. Even the current HP CEO, Meg Whitman, has made statements about the correctness of Fiorina’s actions. Here in lies the dynamic that makes Fiorina interesting: is she the “anti-Trump” or simply Trump with a softer tongue and a nicer set of hips?
That thought alone wouldn’t be enough to sway this American and bring his vote to the dark side. I tend to believe that all businesspeople turned politician are inherently dangerous to the country as a whole. Their sole purpose seems to be the bottom line, but Fiorina seems to buck that trend. She has legitimate, competent plans for dealing with the major political points that’ll await her in future debates.
Like most of the other Republican candidates, she’s jockeying for the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built and has stated that, even if struck down, it should be re-proposed again and again until it’s passed and built. While I don’t personally agree with the pipeline, she has been the only candidate who’s made note of the fact that, in hesitating to do something, we’re doing far more damage than any pipeline could do… and it would create jobs too.
Then there’s her view on immigration. Again, there’s nothing strikingly different about her views. She certainly hasn’t stepped beyond the ideology of her party (can you imagine it, a Republican with leftist views on topics? The madness…the madness…).
What sets her apart is the fact that she has a legitimate, detailed plan for dealing with the issues. She’s not against allowing young, productive members of illegal immigrants from using a modified version of the DREAM act but she is totally against the concept of amnesty.
She is also heavily in favor of defunding sanctuary states and increasing The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) presence across both the north and south borders into the country.
There is one area that separates Fiorina from the lion’s share of the Republican pack and it happens to be a subject that is near and dear to my heart: the decriminalization of addiction and drug use in the United States. As a detractor of the War on Drugs, she believes more money should be spent on the treatment of addiction and regulation of the substances deemed appropriate for public use.
While she hasn’t specifically said which substances those would be, she has been very open about making sure the federal government stays out of the States’ business when it comes to things like marijuana.
So what’s in store for Carly Fiorina? Will she rise to prominence and challenge the other contenders for the 2016 presidential bid? Will she play the spoiler role like Ralph Nader did for the 2004 elections? Or will she burn out like so many would-be candidates do along the campaign trail (I’m looking at you, Santorum)? Only time will tell.
Ryan Wasser is a fourth-year student majoring in political science. He can be reached at RW851045@wcupa.edu.