The independent student newspaper of Iowa State and Ames since 1890

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Weingarten: On the disastrous GOP debate

Why the second Republican debate was a fiasco
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Opinion Editor Caleb Weingarten reflects on the second GOP debate.

In modern entertainment, few things compare to the spectacle of professional wrestling. 

However, if you witnessed last night’s GOP debate, that previous assumption may now be useless. Many things from the Republican fiasco stuck out. Most notably, I was surprised by the amount of attention former president Donald Trump received in light of his absence from both GOP debates.

In fact, the moment when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed Trump for his no-show, their tones and attitudes were akin to those of the lowest quality production professional wrestling promotion you can imagine.

Chris Christie even threatened to call Donald Trump “Donald Duck,” implying that Trump is “ducking” the chance of criticism on the world stage. DeSantis claimed that Trump was “missing in action.” 

These rather banal statements should not dissuade us from acknowledging their point: why is the Republican frontrunner not in attendance for the debate? His voting base should hold him to the basic standard of at least showing up. The debates have not been much of an in-depth discussion of policy and presidential practice anyway, which is in accordance with Trump’s debate strengths. Trump is a showman, not a statesman, and the debate was all show. Why wasn’t he there?

I suspect that the candidates who once flocked to Trump’s corner are now turning on him because they sense the end is near. Here I must cite Szymborska: 

Downpours of affidavits,

permits and questionnaires,

rain down and I will say:

I see the sun behind you.


My watch, dropped in a river,

bob up and let me seize you – 

then, face to face, I’ll say:

Your so-called time is up.


As all political processes are supposed to, perhaps Trump has fallen to Szymborska’s syndrome: change. 

However, after last night’s horrid debate, I hope Trump isn’t the only thing that succumbs to this process. In my view, the current roster of candidates is among the worst we have ever had to pick from.

The lesser-of-two-evils mentality is rotting our political process. These debates display this behavior. In the last couple of presidential elections, we can all think of how embarrassing the rhetoric was. 

In gauging the success of the candidates in last night’s debate, sources such as Politico displayed the opinions of different viewers. Among the perceived victors are Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Ron DeSantis. However, we must realize that everyone wins in a debate, primarily because their supporters are generally loyalists, so these opinions do not amount to much. 

Americans are afraid of what the future holds. Both Democrats and Republicans hesitate to drift from their corporate lobbyist support system. As long as this is the case, the future is dim. 

The desperation for support from the candidates in last night’s GOP debates was evident. Americans should be embarrassed to be represented by this set of candidates who are more ready to jump off the top rope than they are to discuss policy and the actual needs of the American people. 


View Comments (2)
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Iowa State Daily. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, send our student journalists to conferences and off-set their cost of living so they can continue to do best-in-the-nation work at the Iowa State Daily.

More to Discover
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Comments (2)

All Iowa State Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • C

    Cece | Sep 29, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    Thank you for your opinion. I had never heard about Syzmborska and so I learned something new today.

  • A

    Adam | Sep 29, 2023 at 10:43 am

    When our entire system stops representing a binary choice for one of two evils, our political representation will no longer be a choice of lesser of two evils.