Trump's Absence Sorely Noted As Viewership for 3rd GOP Debate Plunges to 7.5 Million, Worst So Far


The Republican presidential primary debates without former President Donald Trump have been like “American Idol” without Simon Cowell.

And the ratings reflect it.

Trump announced in August he would be skipping the primary debates because polls showed him “leading the field by ‘legendary’ numbers.”

On Wednesday night, five other GOP hopefuls — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina — took the stage in Miami to make their case for the nomination.

While they jostled on stage in an attempt to get a few viral sound bytes, a disinterested electorate was changing the channel en masse.

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Wednesday’s snoozer drew a measly 7.5 million viewers Wednesday night, according to Axios.

That was down 46 percent from the 14 million who tuned in to watch the third GOP primary debate in the 2016 race, which featured Trump and nine other candidates.

This drop in viewership follows a concerning trend, with each debate attracting fewer viewers than the last.

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About 13 million viewers tuned in for the first GOP debate on Fox News in August. That number fell to 9.5 million for the second Fox News debate in September, according to Axios.

The anemic ratings are worse among the key 25-54 demographic, where only 1.3 million viewers tuned in for the NBC debate Wednesday, according to NewsMax.

Still, NBC News said it was the second most-watched Republican primary debate in NBCU News Group’s history, Axios reported.

Polls show Trump dominating the field, beating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is in second place by over 40 points, according to the most recent FiveThirtyEight polling averages.

Other recent polls show Trump leading President Joe Biden in major battleground states.

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No other GOP contender even comes close to Trump, so why would viewers bother watching the also-rans practice their talking points?

This is a referendum on everyone in the Republican field not named Trump.

No one else moves the needle or drives ratings. The people have spoken — and they’re voting with their remotes.

The ratings also track with an October Rasmussen poll that found 52 percent of GOP voters wanted to end the debates, as did 40 percent of all voters.

The fourth primary debate is set for Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on NewsNation. Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly will be one of the moderators.

Given the falling ratings and the GOP polling, maybe Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel should do everyone a favor and cancel it.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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