No Trump at GOP debate? Good! Let the adults talk

With Donald Trump skipping the GOP debate Wednesday, his rivals now have a great shot to prove their salt — by laying out their plans to beat President Joe Biden and lead the nation to a better future after his disasters.

As we’ve noted, Trump likely would’ve made the debate all about him; we hope the candidates can now offer substantive back-and-forth on issues that matter: the economy, the migrant crisis, climate change, and threats from abroad.

Lay out your visions, folks. Make the case for why you’re the best bet for beating Biden and leading America where it ought to go.

For starters, tackle the economy, voters’ top concern.

Fueled by Biden’s multitrillion-dollar spending and debt, prices have soared 15% since 2020, with key expenses (food, energy) up a whopping 25%.

Yet wages haven’t kept pace, lagging inflation in every one of the past 22 months, except two.

And the price jumps have forced the Federal Reserve to rocket up interest rates, making it harder to buy homes, cars, and other necessities.

Former US President Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump.
AFP via Getty Images

That, along with enormous household debt and an ailing post-pandemic commercial real estate market, makes the risk of a downturn high.

So: Would the candidates raise taxes or cut spending to tame the deficit?

Lower taxes, perhaps, to spur growth?

And what will they do to make entitlement funds (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) solvent?

Another key concern: migrants overrunning US cities, forcing them to shell out billions, with average Americans asked to make huge sacrifices.

Would Mike Pence or Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley close the border? How?

Republican U.S. presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Getty Images

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley
Presidential candidate and former South Caroline Gov. Nikki Haley.
Getty Images

Biden & Co. have also burdened Americans with onerous climate-change rules, fueling costs and risking blackouts.

What would be Chris Christie’s or Tim Scott’s or Vivek Ramaswamy’s approach?

How about Ukraine? Would these wannabes speed up military aid to help force Russia to end the war? Or cut aid and leave Kyiv on its own?

Republican presidential candidate Senator Tim Scott
Republican presidential candidate and Senator Tim Scott.
Getty Images

China’s a growing military and economic threat. What are their plans to deal with it?

Or with Iran, which is going nuclear, supplies Russia with weapons, and harasses Persian Gulf ships?

Why would they be the best choice for voters looking to oust Biden?

These are all critical questions, not just for Republicans but all Americans.

Wednesday’s debate, the first major event on the long road to November 2024, will give each candidate a chance to show their cards.

May the best person win.

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