By Tom Quiner

Republican debates are typically sleepy affairs with 3 to 5 million viewers.

The party faithful and policy wonks tune in while the rest of the country tunes out.

The addition of Donald Trump with his potent disdain for the establishment and political correctness changed things.

Last month, the Fox debate had well over 20 million viewers. Last night’s CNN debate had nearly as many. That’s a lot of people who got exposed to some lively, and frequently intelligent exchanges (less so when Trump was speaking).

Nonetheless, Trump is driving the ratings. Even more, he is driving social media. Check out the number of Facebook followers each candidate has.

Donald Trump, 3.7 million

Dr. Ben Carson, 3.3 million

Rand Paul, 2 million

Mike Huckabee, 1.8 million

Bernie Sanders, 1.4 million

Hillary Clinton, 1.3 million

Marco Rubio, 1 million

Carly Fiorina, 410,000

Bob Jindal, 282,000

Jeb Bush, 272,000

Rick Santorum, 265,000

John Kasich, 143,000

Lindsay Graham, 134,000

Chris Christie, 123,000

George Pataki, 18,000

Ted Cruz, 16,000

Trump and Carson have established a potent, non-stop network with their growing Facebook fan base.

What does it mean? Communication is everything. Trump is getting more communication opportunities than everyone else. He’s created it. Others, though, are benefitting as well through increased debate viewership.



  1. encourage the faithful on September 18, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Not to mention, Tom, that people like your good friend, “Nun on the Bus,” may actually have listened to Carly talk about the barbaric practices of Planned Parenthood. My hope is that with such unprecedented viewership, more babies will be saved from the abortionist. Thank you for the report, Tom. Those are amazing numbers!

    • quinersdiner on September 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

      I hope. As a side note, the real “nuns on the bus” began their first tour at my parish in Des Moines several years ago. I didn’t attend, but later viewed the video, which you can watch below. I don’t know if this clip shows it, but at one point, Sister Simone uses the Lord’s name in an expletive (from our pulpit, mind you) as everyone titters. Nuns on the Bus were apparently funded indirectly by George Soros. I later heard Sister Simone interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air” who asked if Sister Simone was pro life. You can guess the answer.

      • encourage the faithful on September 21, 2015 at 8:36 am

        Really, Tom. The bishops, at the local level, do need to thoroughly restrain these heterodox nuns and I know that Pope Benedict did his duty by them. Pope Francis is a different story, I think. I would have attended her talk, Tom, just to see with my own eyes and hear with my own ears the manner and hubris in which she makes mockery of the teachings of the Church. But listening to and watching the video, I did not find anything evidently heterodox in her statements. I do have issue with her telling the audience that “we” can be the Burning Bush that appeared to Moses and that “we” can breath life into the people. I have never read any orthodox theological work which used that Godly image as ourselves. And yes she did use an expletive and it actually sounded like one. She said “for Christ’s sake” but immediately nodded her head and pointed to heaven and said it again as if it were a prayer. You can watch it at the 11:23 minute mark on the tape.

        Pope Benedict, in a Vatican investigation, charged the nuns of the umbrella organization, LCWR, with protesting church doctrine while “promoting radical feminist themes” incompatible with the Catholic faith (women’s ordination and homosexuality) and remaining silent on the right to life and abortion. He praised the nuns for “promoting social justice.”

        • quinersdiner on September 21, 2015 at 9:27 am

          As I recall, the nuns spoke on Father’s Day, which was also the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. It was a no-brainer for me: stay at home and bask in the glory of fatherhood and golf … or subject myself to the rants of a leftwing nun. 😉

  2. TAEconomist on September 18, 2015 at 11:45 am

    There’s no doubt Trump brings the press, but he also adds to the stereotypes about the GOP being a party of deluded and extreme conservatives. This may create negative ramifications when it comes to Dems V GOP for the Presidency.

  3. encourage the faithful on September 21, 2015 at 9:47 am

    I imagine Sister Simone did not thank fathers for their tireless self-giving to their families nor say a prayer with the audience for them on their day, lol!

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