Trump Expected to Star Again in Second GOP Debate

Candidate-Debates.pngThis is a no-brainer. New York billionaire real estate developer Donald J. Trump is expected to hog the limelight once again in the second televised Republican Presidential Primary Debate scheduled for Sept. 16 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Ca. CNN is the debate host.

The Associated Press previously reported 25 million viewers watched the first Aug. 6 debate from Cleveland, OH. That was more than any previous estimate published for a National Football League, National Basketball Association, Super Bowl or international soccer game, the AP noted.

Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Ronald Reagan, and CNN have invited 16 of the 17 candidates to the event. Only Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia, wasn't invited because he has still not achieved at least a 1 percent rating in any of the national polls.

The Sept. 16 program will actually offer two debate levels, just as the Aug. 6 debate offered in Cleveland, OH. The early debate of the evening will probably showcase Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki.

However, Fiorina, because of her recently improved poll ratings, may be moved up to the main event which will feature Trump, Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

 If Fiorina tops Christie in the polls by Sept. 10, she would replace Christie who would then drop down to the early debate schedule.

Donald-Trump.jpgLook for Trump to dominate the debate as he did Aug. 6 in Cleveland. Until the Republican primaries kick in during February 2016, Trump will remain the headline leader daily and in all future debates.

I was wrong in suggesting in an earlier column that Trump's remarks aimed at Sen. John McCain's Vietnam War record would hurt his popularity and shrink his poll ratings. They did not. Instead, Trump's visibility level soared and his poll ratings have grown to 25 percent.

Only Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon from Detroit, MI, is close to Trump with a surprising 15 percent poll level.

Don't expect CNN debate host Jake Tapper to throw any headline-making barbs at Trump as Fox Network host Megyn Kelly did at the Aug. 6 debate. But Tapper, an experienced Washington reporter, will probably egg on Trump to better explain his stand on illegal immigration to the U.S., trade with China, the national debt and national security, and America's current image to the world.

How the other nine debaters respond to the questions will hardly be noticed by the audience. Their attention and sight is on Trump from the moment he enters the debate platform to the time he leaves two hours later.

Stranger things have happened in American politics, but I predict now that Trump will be named as the Republican Party's nominee in the November 2016 presidential election.  If he doesn't earn that post, Trump will form his own independent party to go up against the establishment. GOP financial backers and party honchos cringe when they hear that.

The GOP debate schedule calls for 10 debates between Aug. 6, 2015 and March 1, 2016. There will be one debate each month from August 2015 to next January. Then there will be three debates in February.

Two debates are pending in March, and there is one still be determined featuring conservative media. Details still need to be worked out on specific dates and venues for many of the events.

It has been a long, hot summer and the Sept. 16 debate may make it even hotter still. And that's how it is at this moment.

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