Special Coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'; Also: Willis requests Trump RICO trial begin this October!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2023, 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's special coverage of the first GOP Presidential Primary debate of the 2024 campaign. It featured eight candidates, none of which were named Trump, But he was there anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The raucus two-hour debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was sponsored by Fox "News" and held before a rowdy audience of booing and cheering Republicans who, at times, resembled a pro wrestling crowd --- or a lynch mob --- more than supporters of an American political party.

The actual participants on the stage were (in order of polling popularity before the debate): Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; 38-year old entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (who, if you hadn't heard of him before last night, you probably have now); Former Vice President Mike Pence; Former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley; Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott; Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (who, if you hadn't heard of him before last night, you may still have no idea who he is today.)

We're joined today by some favorite BradCast special coverage guests to try and make sense of it all. (Which was no easy feat, frankly!) HEATHER DIGBY PARTON is a longtime, award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog; "DRIFTGLASS" is otherwise known as both @Mr_Electrico on the site formerly known as Twitter and occasional as just "Bill" back at home in "Flyover Country, Illinois" where he produces the weekly Professional Left Podcast.

Among the questions asked, answered and/or discussed today...

  • Who and what is Vivek Ramaswamy? And why was he both the target and obnoxious star of the evening?
  • What did all those red ties worn by everyone but Christie, Hutchinson and Haley actually mean?
  • What happened to Great White (Non-Trump) Hope DeSantis? Why was he largely ignored? And why was he screaming?
  • Holy crap! Was that a question about Climate Change on a Fox 'News' sponsored debate?!
  • Has Pence been underestimated after so many years in Trump's shadow?
  • Did Haley help or hurt herself in calling for a "new generation" of GOP leaders (while clearly being part of the old generation of GOP leaders)?
  • Wait, they all think Pence did the right thing on January 6, 2021, but almost all of them would support Trump next year even if convicted on felony crimes?
  • Have Christie and Pence figured out how to use the Constitution as a weapon against Trump?
  • Remember when even Republican debates included actual policy issues?
  • Who on that stage would be more likely than Trump to defeat Joe Biden next year?
  • If Trump is somehow removed from contention, who becomes the party's front-runner?
  • Was Trump right or wrong to stay out of the debate?

All of that and many more questions asked, answered, discussed or dodged on today's special edition of The BradCast, as Trump heads to a jail in Atlanta to be booked on his fourth criminal indictment of the year and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asks the Court [PDF] to begin his racketeering trial just two months from now in October(!) and as the once Grand Ole Party continues its long, dangerous descent into madness.

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The judge quickly approved Willis' request for an October 23 trial, but only for Trump attorney Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors scheme), who invoked Georgia's speedy trial law. The other defendants do not yet have a trial date. So The Cheese stands alone...


PROGRAMMING NOTE: The BradCast and Green News Report are standing down until after the Labor Day Holiday! See you in September!...

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