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Here’s EXACTLY who I think will “win” the debates tonight

By: Allen B. West

Perhaps there are many who aren’t paying attention to this, but today Cleveland, Ohio will be the center of the political universe. This evening, the first GOP presidential primary debate will be held — in two segments. There are seventeen GOP candidates vying for the Republican party’s 2016 presidential nomination. The debate has a second tier of candidates — seven — who will take the stage earlier in the day. Then, in prime time, the top 10 based on an average of national polls hit the deck.

And so what do I think will happen? First of all, what I hope doesn’t happen is that this becomes prime-time entertainment and a circular firing squad. I’m hoping this will be a substantive forum that enables candidates in both tiers to display their ability to connect with the American people.

Everyone’s focused on the #1 seed in this tournament, Donald Trump. He’s certainly surprised — and in some ways, embarrassed — the established political pundits. However, there comes a time when you must step it up and evidence the ability to be a statesman and a leader. That means the ability to present a vision, solutions — not slick sounding stats, but a way forward the American people can understand. My assessment is that a governor does have an advantage in this debate for having displayed executive decision making in the political arena. And a sitting or more recent governor can point to achievements that are quantifiable. Then again, they also have a record which can be scrutinized.

There are three first-term U.S. senators, and their challenge is to clearly delineate how they won’t be another first-term senator disaster as we currently have occupying the White House. Then, there are the outsiders, those who’ve not been in the political arena.

And here’s where there could just be a surprise in this first debate. Dr. Ben Carson will have to fight to get attention on the prime-time stage. He must inject himself and evidence that he can parlay his medical experience into being a president — which is not as easy a task as some may think. His soft-spoken nature will have to be set aside somewhat, because he must get into the conversation and not allow the others to dismiss him.

In the second-tier debate, I’d advise folks be on the lookout for former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. If you watched her speech at the Reagan Library, you saw someone very sharp and to the point — a skilled communicator who can articulate much in a concise manner and is not going to be easily dismissed.

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