gop debateTonight, we’ll all get to see the flock of Republicans running for president in their first debate. Right now, polls show Donald Trump as the current leader for the GOP nomination, but there are still many months to go before the final decision is made.

In the meantime, we’ll be checking out the debate and reporting back on the foolishness and shenanigans that these jokers pull in an attempt to convince us all that they’d make the best POTUS.

So will you be tuning in?

The main debate starts on Fox News at 9:00 pm ET, and the earlier debate (for the candidates who didn’t make the main event) starts at 5:00 pm ET.

On the issues and the tactics

Outside of the personalities and strategies, tonight’s debate will be about the issues, too. Immigration is the issue that divides the GOP field the most. And with Rand Paul on stage, foreign policy will have a disagreement or two, as well. But the main disagreement from the candidates is likely to be over tactics. Do they support shutting down the government in the effort to defund Planned Parenthood? Do they promise to rip up the Iran deal on their first day in office — no matter the consequences from the rest of the international community?

The Republican Party warms up to Trump

Maybe the most fascinating polling results from our recent NBC/WSJ survey is tracking the Republicans who say they COULDN’T SUPPORT Trump – and seeing that percentage decrease.

  • March 2015 NBC/WSJ poll: 74% of GOP primary voters said they couldn’t see themselves backing Trump
  • June 2015 NBC/WSJ: 66% of GOP primary voters said that
  • July 2015 NBC/WSJ: 49% of GOP primary voters said that.

Tonight’s debate will help determine if that trend continues. Or does it stop? By the way, don’t miss the piece by Bloomberg’s Josh Green on how tonight’s debate will signal Trump’s transformation from celebrity to Republican.

Where America and the parties stand on what to do with the undocumented immigrants in the country

One of the main issues that will be discussed tonight, as wrote said above, is immigration. And here is where the country at large stands on the issue, per this week’s NBC/WSJ poll: 47% of Americans support allowing undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, and that includes 58% of Democrats, 58% of Latinos, 45% of independents, but just 36% of Republicans. Another 19% of all Americans support allowing undocumented immigrants have legal status, and that includes 19% of Dems, 22% of Latinos, 17% independents, and 17% of Republicans. And 32% say these undocumented immigrants should instead be deported, and that includes 20% of Democrats, 15% of Latinos, 32% of independents, and 43% of Republicans.

Obama tries to turn Iran deal into D-vs-R issue, but is he missing an opportunity to win over more of the public?

Finally, our takeaway from President Obama’s big speech yesterday on the Iran deal is that he tried to turn the debate into a Democrat-vs-Republican issue. He was responding to Tom Cotton, not Chuck Schumer. And given that his objective is keeping enough Democrats on his side on a veto-override vote, that’s probably the smartest strategy. But what was missing from his speech was an acknowledgement of how TOUGH a call this Iran deal is for many. It seems he’s missing an opportunity to get many Americans to the same point where former Defense Secretary Bob Gates is — highly skeptical of the deal, but knowing that the United States can’t walk away from it.

Source: NBC News