Many people reading this will not vote in New York’s Republican presidential primary next spring. Many won’t even consider supporting a Republican in the general election (although quite a few New Yorkers will pull the red lever: In 2012, Mitt Romney claimed more votes in New York City than he did in seven of the states he won).
And, some of you won’t vote at all, because you aren’t allowed to (sigh) or simply can’t be bothered (bigger sigh).
Taken together, that might make tonight’s GOP presidential debate seem like trivia, as early as it is and with such a large cast of characters. After all, many of the people on stage this evening will disappear from view before the first primary votes are even recorded.
But it’s at events like tonight’s that the parameters of the larger campaign debate get set. Crazy ideas get legitimized and reasonable notions get pushed to the fringe. Pollsters and consultants test how positions and phrasings play with likely voters and focus groups. Those findings shape strategies to which Democrats and the media must react, which in turn create the agendas around which the next president will govern.
So, even if it’s only with one ear and through a snarky grin, there must be some issue on which the GOP candidates’ position really matters to you: a topic where the scope of the debate next year is particularly important to your life, family, wallet or conscience.
What is it? Vote below and we’ll report results later.