GOP debate breakdown: how each candidate fared

By Kenny Kiratli

Kenny Kiratli ('17) attends Northwestern University.

Posted: January 15, 2016

Senior Luke Fraizure—aficionado of politics—breaks down last evening’s debate and grades each candidate’s performance.

Donald Trump: A 

“Trump probably had the strongest debate of the night. He was just Donald Trump the last five debates and that sufficed for him, but [last night] he broke out of his shell.”

Ted Cruz: B+ 

“[Cruz] commanded the stage. He directed the discussion. He really showed the base of the republican party.”

Chris Christie: B

“He was on cruise control the whole night. He’s a good debater, and he’s shown that the past couple of times. He belittled the freshman senators [Cruz and Rubio].” 

John Kasich: B

“Kasich projected this sense [that] he’s a happy warrior…ready to fight for the American people. He did what he needed to do to appeal that group of the moderate to independent voters that he’s targeting.”

Marco Rubio: B-

“He’s a great debater, stays on message. But he’s kind of a robot in the sense that he speaks from talking points. He had to keep interjecting himself into the conversation.”

Jeb Bush: B-

“It’s too little too late for the governor of Florida. He set the expectations really high at the beginning of this campaign, but he just couldn’t live up to them. He can’t sell himself.”

Ben Carson: C-

“He is just spiraling out of control. His campaign’s in turmoil … and he hasn’t really stopped the bleeding at all. I didn’t see him reversing any trends; I think it’s only a matter of time before he drops out.”

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