It’s the Talkie in Milwaukee as 12 Republican candidates for President face off tonight in the fourth debate of the campaign. Fox Business Network will be hosting, and moderators Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo will try to outdo the much-maligned CNBC debate while the candidates duke it out over the economy. Here’s The Dig’s recommendations for what the candidates need to do to win:
Sen. Lindsey Graham – It’s no secret the Dig is a debate junkie. But what should have been a convivial celebration of democracy and discourse has been tarnished by the shameful exclusion of the brawny and gallant Lindsey Graham. That this Gulf War hero Judge Advocate would be given the bum’s rush on the eve of Veteran’s Day is a national tragedy and scandal on the level of Hillary’s e-mail server.
How did this happen? If I had to guess, I’d say it was the result of covert meddling from suspected homewrecker Jake Tapper (please, I don’t want to get into it here). Fortunately, we live in 2015. Sen. Graham can live-snark the debates, something venerated reporters like myself do on the regular. People absolutely adore these, and it would give Graham a chance to connect with young voters who are just waiting for a charismatic rogue to “retweet”. Bonus points if he writes his own debate drinking game. I’ll be the first to play, Senator!
Carly Fiorina – Having learned intersectional feminism from my new girlfriend KweenTrashWytch✨✨‘s Tumblr I can take solace in fact that Slay Queen Carly will be on stage. What should she do? Sorry, I’m not going to mansplain to her. This campaign has seen too much misogyny from privileged Bernie Babies, broservatives, and even other candidates who refuse to bow down to an accomplished bad girl thot like Carly. It’s all elementary though, fam. Once she’s finna spill actual knowledge on the brokebois, victory inevitable. Carly just needs to lean in, (clap) treat herself (clap), and act like the spoiled garbage princess she deserves to be. Yaasssss queen!
Dr. Ben Carson – All eyes will be on Dr. Carson as the tentative frontrunner tries to explain away his bizarre Pyramid theory, allegations that he’s actually blind, and — worst of all — accusations that he lied about being accepted into West Point. One possible way out: the visually-impaired Carson could say he mistook a gas bill or takeout menu as an acceptance letter and that what he assumed was a campus tour of West Point was actually him stumbling around an abandoned tire store at night. If he plays his cards right, the Mister Magoo-like neurosurgeon might bumble his way out of yet another predicament.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush – The Dig’s been pretty impressed by Jeb’s tough talking yet laid back new style. He’s been promising to kill baby Hitler, personally responding to voters’ emails, and bragging about all the cool stuff he could be doing instead of running for President. Jeb needs to bring this feisty too-cool-for-school attitude to the debate stage, where he should be standing off to the side in Heelys and a tilted snapback lobbing spitballs at the teacher’s pet frontrunners. By bobbing and weaving at Donald Trump in a sweet pair of Oakleys Jeb might attain what Millennial voters call “on fleekness.”
Sen. Rand Paul – That this sickly cockroach is given a podium while war hero Lindsey Graham isn’t even invited is proof enough that God doesn’t exist. Talking about Rand’s key to victory here has as much basis in reality as telling a dog how to perform kidney surgery, so let’s cut the baloney. If Rand wants as few people possible to remember his impish shrieks and hideous, vacant eyes, he should keep his mouth shut and be respectful of the moderators and other candidates. It’s already offensive enough he’s up there; he may as well act grateful for once.
Donald Trump – I hope everyone had their copious “LOLs” from The Donald’s uproarious SNL appearance, because it’s time to get serious again. That isn’t to say the mogul can’t play off his Earth-shattering success on the historic skit-based comedy program. If he reprises his epic performance by telling Baby Hitler “you’re fired” and saying that Lake Michigan is “yuge,” the gullible flyover bumpkins that vote in Republican primaries will be laughing all the way to the polls. The only question is if he’ll go back to his tried and true formula of attacking the spouses of other candidates. Inside sources tell me Mike Huckabee’s sister wives have it coming.
Sen. Marco Rubio – The Floridan is definitely aiming to be the alpha of the debates now that Lindsey Graham has been effectively disappeared by Joseph Stalin — sorry, I mean Reince Priebus. We got a taste of it the last go-around, when he “ghosted” the then-uncool Jeb Bush 1.0. This time expect Marco to dial it up to 11. I no longer support toxic masculinity, but Rubio could pull out a definite win if he acknowledges his rumored bastard child tonight. Electoral history shows the one presidential candidate who ever had an illegitimate child (Grover Cleveland) won two presidential elections. If I was in Rubio’s camp, I’d have this neat factoid plastering the walls. Virility wins, Senator.
Sen. Ted Cruz – Senator Cruz is running the second best campaign behind righteous bad girl Carly, but he’s behaving more like a child than a leader when he’s on the debate stage. The dead squid-necked Texan dismayed millions at the last debate, when he viciously attacked the moderators for simply trying to ask questions that could lead to viral moments. Such shameful disrespect for the media is bound to hurt Cruz with voters who look to the media to explain the winners and losers of the week. Senator, put on a diaper if you’re going to throw another shrill tantrum at the moderators. And don’t you dare touch one hair on Maria Bartiromo’s precious head, you cad.
Gov. John Kasich – Governor Kasich may find himself in hostile territory at Fox Business. For one, the plucky drifter will be facing finance-related questions, definitely not his strong suit. “I need 30 bucks to get to the bottle deposit place, but I’m good for it” may play in Iowa, but not on Wall Street. Still, the itinerant moderate may have a genuine viral moment if he launches into one of his classic “that guy had it out for me” rants, which have captured the hearts of anyone who’s ever been denied bathroom privileges at Dunkin Donuts as the destitute Ohioan has.
These next four are facing off in the undercard debate before the main event:
Gov. Chris Christie – Christie’s low poll numbers bounced him to the kiddie table debate, where he will no longer have access to sweaty human punching bag Rand Paul to make him look good. On the small stage Christie will be on the prowl for a new weakling to bully. Smart money says the Falstaffian governor will go after nerdy Bobby Jindal.
former Gov. Mike Huckabee – Huckabee was also demoted to the Happy Hour debate after his miserable performance at the CNBC debate. Expectations are low as this backwoods country preacher is simply not equipped for a discussion about financial issues. Look for him to stumble through questions about Arkansas’ miserable economy, which is centered around the Truck Nutz and ominous banjo playing industries.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Sen. Rick Santorum will surely breathe a sigh of relief that their usual tormentors, the hulking brute George Pataki and charismatic war hero Lindsey Graham, will not be present at the undercard debate to humiliate them in front of an audience of hundreds. Yet Christie and Huckabee, both veterans of real debates, will be formidable new opponents. Santorum in particular will be vexed by the appearance of another devout Christian who will compete for their Lord’s magical energies.
The debate kicks off at 9 PM Eastern on FBN and streaming online. Follow the action — and the snark! — on my Twitter account at @carl_diggler. And don’t be shy about joining the Dig on the drinking game action!
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman.” Got a tip for The Dig? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet @carl_diggler.