People have tuned out the GOP debates. And for good reason.
They were must-watch events the last two cycles. They're hemorrhaging viewers this time around.
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Tonight, CNN is hosting yet another Trump-less GOP presidential primary debate. But given the state of the race just days out from next Monday’s Iowa caucuses, it’s understandable if you plan to be busy watching paint dry.
To put it bluntly, this cycle’s Republican debates have been pointless shams. Part of this has to do with the dominant frontrunner refusing to participate. But the non-Trump candidates haven’t exactly wrapped themselves in glory either.
Presidential primaries are traditionally an exchange of ideas, a rigorous argument over the direction a political party might take. This was an actual question for Democrats in 2016 and 2020 and for Republicans in 2016, but today’s GOP is only marching in one direction — toward MAGA autocracy. And that’s been obvious for so long now that skipping the debates hasn’t hurt Trump’s polling at all.
But you don’t have to take it from us. The ratings tell the story. Compared to eight years ago, there’s very little interest in these debates no matter how hard the cable networks try. And the lack of viewership reflects a crop of candidates who, with the exception of Chris Christie, haven’t been willing to take a stand against Trumpism.
How to lose 20 million viewers
If the 2024 Republican presidential debates were a normal TV show, they would’ve already gotten canceled.