Dame: Republicans champion debate

Photo by U.S. Consulate General Barcelona

by Paul Dame

Last week, the first Republican Presidential Debate set records for viewership, totaling a live audience of over 12 million. It was the most-watched cable telecast of the year outside of sports, with nearly 50% higher ratings than the 2nd place finisher, an episode of Paramount’s “Yellowstone.” These numbers were nearly double what Republican debates were getting in the pre-Trump era of the 2012 primary season, which peaked at around 6 million.

The average observer may not realize it, but there was another way that history was made last Wednesday night. In previous elections, debates would occur whenever an inclined media outlet wanted to host one with zero input from the parties, and next to no leverage from the candidates. Early last year, the RNC changed that when their new Committee on Debates was formed and went into action. Last week’s debate was the very first one that was organized and sanctioned by the RNC. This allowed Republicans to select the venue in Milwaukee, which is in the swing state of Wisconsin as well as the site of the 2024 Republican Convention. This also allowed the RNC to choose the venue, which allowed for the greatest number of in-person attendance for a debate ever recorded, reaching over 5,000.

Paul Dame

And the great news was that the RNC set up a debate, and the candidates created an event where a rising tide lifted all of their boats. A poll conducted by showed that all eight participants saw an increase in the number of primary voters who would consider voting for them. The only candidates who were hurt during the debate were two who did not attend; William Hurd and Donald Trump. Trump went into the debate with the highest consideration rate but lost 5% of his potential supporters, which had him swapping places and giving the lead to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Meanwhile, Ambassador Nikki Haley saw the biggest jump from 30.2% to 46.7%, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson saw the smallest increase from 8.5% to 9.4%.

While everyone will have a different opinion about who won the debate or what their favorite moment might have been, what impressed me the most is the legitimate diversity of thought that was demonstrated on that stage – and what a contrast it is to the DNC. There are a few core values that hold us together as Republicans, but our party has always been a true marketplace for the exchange of ideas with no monopolies on how best to apply those principles. There were considerable differences between the candidates about foreign policy, environmental policy, abortion, and more. It was a great showcase to the American public that the Republican Party is the place to be if you want a genuine discussion and debate where the best policies can rise to the top.

The contrast to the DNC is stark. First of all, despite having three announced candidates, the DNC is not holding any debates. Even if a few legacy media outlets wanted to put one together – which they don’t – without the participation of President Biden, there won’t be too much interest. The DNC is going even further to fundamentally change their primary schedule in order to make sure that Democrats don’t choose anyone other than Joe Biden. If you remember in 2020, Biden struggled in both Iowa and New Hampshire, which led to speculations that he might drop out until he came through with a big win in South Carolina. So obviously, Democrats have rearranged the schedule to put South Carolina first, which breaks over 100 years of precedent putting New Hampshire as the nation’s first primary.

Unfortunately for Democrats who seem to make a habit of disregarding the law elsewhere, they have also looked the other way on an NH state law that requires the Secretary of State to set a date for the primary that is earlier than any other state. So once again, Democrat wishes are about to crash face-first into reality when their desired outcome cannot be achieved. One consequence of this is that Democrats are now in such an embarrassing and disorganized position because their rules may require Biden to not even place his name on the ballot in the Granite State, meaning that RFK or Marianne Williamson could be declared the outright winner of the nation’s first primary. If that happens, it would be the first time an incumbent President lost the NH Primary since Ted Kennedy beat Jimmy Carter in 1980. Just what Biden needs – another comparison to Carter.

So while Democrats keep their iron fist gripped around their party members to squash dissent and restrict the effect their voters will have on their candidates, Republicans will keep pushing forward with debates that help our party assess and adapt to the changing needs of the American electorate and give those voters the opportunity to show the party the direction they want us to go in 2024 and beyond. Republicans will keep pushing for the freedom of speech, which is non-negotiable in a democratically-elected republic, and fight against the centrally-controlled censorship that Democrats are advocating for throughout this entire primary process.

The author is an Essex Junction resident and chair of the Vermont Republican Party.

Categories: Commentary

13 replies »

  1. Nice try at spin: “consideration rate”? What is that? Is that the best oddball statistic you could come up with to denigrate Trump? Most, if not all of the midgets on the stage were uni-party candidates that will keep the money and power flowing to the war mongers in the military-industrial-complex, do nothing about the Climate hoax and in general be your typical RINO. Just like you.

  2. Define gaslighting, deception and deep (state) denial tactics. shows a number of polls from different sources that doesn’t quike jive with this RNC script brought to us by corporate goons and their dirty, dirty money.

  3. How many more millions watched President Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson.
    If Republicans would get behind President Trump and support him against the Democrat prosecutions there might be more interest in what Republicans had to say. Until or unless that happens Republicans are just a part of the problem.

  4. Paul Dame represents the political elite, those who Aaron Warner describes as “the powers who will oppress us for, as they see it, our own good.”

    Yes, 12 million people watched the debate (such as it was). But was Trump ‘hurt’ as a result of his ‘no-show’. Hardly, Mr. Dame. More than 200 million people viewed Trump’s concurrent interview with Tucker Carlson.

    Paul Dame’s assertions are… well, you be the judge.

    • mr. dame is employed by the VT GOP, a corporation. His assertions are that of his employer- VT GOP, the national RNC and the myriad of contributors to the two corporations. While we may want to challenge his statements- view those statements and mr. dame as the PR spokesman for his employer. Nothing different than the DNC and Vermont Democrat Party have been doing for decades. mr. dame does not represent you, he represents his employer and the donors of the employer.

  5. Paul,

    I have a question:
    Are you and the other leaders of the Vermont Republican Party holding the Vermont Republican Party captive due to your undying allegiance to Scott and your hatred for Donald Trump?

    What are you doing about the unconstitutional and chaotic election system in Vermont? Why should we bother worrying about candidates when the votes of “We The People” of Vermont are manipulated and untrustworthy? Are you doing nothing about this because Scott signed the bill and agreed with the remaking of our election system into a chaotic and corrupt mess?

    Open your mind Paul! Think ……. and do your own assessment of Vermont’s present election system. Do you really think your vote counts?

    We have mailed, unrequested Ballots going to ALL throughout the state that are on Vermont Voter Checklists, our Ballots are mailed out and controlled by the state, we no longer have a Ballot chain of custody so we don’t KNOW who is actually voting, we have 40+ days of Ballots in the USPS System instead of a voting day, we have no voter ID’s, we have legal Ballot harvesting, we have 24/7 Ballot Drop Boxes, we have same day voter registration, we have DMV automatic voter registration, the state allows non-government organizations to have access and work on our voter checklists, and we have untrusted, mandated machines to count our votes with many persons who are able to prove the counting machines can be accessed online.

    Is this an election system that is to be trusted? Is this a constitutional system that is supposed to be Free, Fair and without corruption?

  6. This debate sure made history as 6 of the 8 candidates said they would support a convicted felon for president.

    • News to me, I didn’t know Trump was convicted yet. But of course, in Commiecrat- Progressive land you are guilty till proven innocent. The Bill of Rights means nothing to you people. I woold love to know your thoughts if all the things that were trust upon Trump was done to Obama. Also grow a pair sign your name. You could be any prostitutes John.

      “The people that voted for Trump are never going to abandon him. I don’t care what Mueller does. I don’t care what the media does. They’re never going to abandon him. Know why? They elected him knowing who he is. And in many cases, they admire who he is. He is the one person standing in the way of them losing their country. In their minds, that’s what’s at stake”.

      Rush Limbaugh

  7. “13 million Americans tuned in for cable network’s first Republican debate, while Tucker Carlson’s X interview with Donald Trump gets 238 million ‘views” from the Daily Mail

  8. Perry Johnson was left off the debate stage. Larry Elder was left off the debate stage. All we heard at that debate was a bunch of ham and eggers trying to get in their practiced one liners in and the moderators letting them give 30 second answers. The last real debates we had were the Lincoln – Douglas debates.

    All this is about is the Republicans funneling the candidates down for us to have a choice of their approved candidate or their approved candidate.

  9. Apparently some folks did not pay attention to the debate. The question was whether the candidates would support Trump IF CONVICTED. 6 of 8 said they would. It appears that some who regularly post comments here would also do so.