Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

And Then There Were Six

The first Republican debate had eight candidates on stage. Donald Trump qualified, but didn't show up. The second Republican debate will be on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. The requirements are tougher this time. A candidate must have hit 3% in two national polls OR 3% in one national poll and 3% in polls in two of the early states. They also need 50,000 donors, up from 40,000 last time. And again, they have to sign a pledge saying they will support the GOP nominee.

So far, only six candidates have qualified. It looks like Asa Hutchinson and Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) are going to bite the dust. Of course, Burgum, who is a billionaire, could try a Hail Mary and offer a $100 gift card for a $1 donation. That would get him past the donor requirement, but you can't buy polls like that. Of course, with unlimited money, you can buy a lot of television ads and that could help. Still, it is not looking good for him now. Hutchinson isn't a billionaire, so he's dead meat.

Whether Donald Trump will show up is a mystery. He hasn't said, but the same factors are at play as last time. Why should he? If he doesn't, the second debate will probably be a repeat of the first one, with Vivek Ramaswamy trying to out-Trump everyone else on stage, and Ron DeSantis and the other candidates just playing it safe. Nikki Haley did well last time, so expect the knives to be out for her this time.

It is a complete rerun of 2016 when all the non-Trump candidates beat up on each other instead of on Trump. It looks like that is the playbook for this year as well. Each of the candidates is hoping to knock all the others out and then face Trump alone, but all they are doing is ruining each others' chances, which helps Trump.

None of the candidates who failed to get to 1% last time are close to 3% this time. They are all toast.

The third debate will be in November in Miami. The RNC is hoping that by making it a home game instead of an away game, they can lure Trump to drive the 70 miles from Palm Beach and get on the stage. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates