gopThe big winner of last night’s debate was clearly the Republican Party.

Democratic trolls can go ahead and lob rotten fruit at their computer terminals and call us party flaks and hacks while they sweat and fret between Hillary and Bernie.

But without question, we saw that Republicans have a deep and distinguished backbench from which to choose. The cocktail hour show and après debate, debate were virtual buffets of fresh ideas, not just a dumping ground of worn-out Washington clichés like Al Gore’s God forsaken lockbox.

That’s not to say our eyes didn’t glaze over during some of the responses that delved into personal resumes that we’ve heard a million times, cause they did.

Whether it was issues surrounding national security, the economy, Internet privacy, immigration, social hot buttons, or just how great this country can truly be once Obama is out of office, the party faithful came away feeling there was a candidate on one of those stages they could strongly support.

While we try to adhere to Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican,” we feel that we must address the elephant in the room that may not be of the GOP persuasion.

We’re speaking of Donald Trump’s declaration that if he should not receive the nomination of his alleged party, he would not rule out a third-party or independent run.

We frown on ideological litmus tests and truly believe we are a big tent party with diverse people who have diverse ideas on how to move this country forward and kick-start the economy.

Ours wasn’t a stage full of tired party hacks pledging to cut taxes for the rich. It was lined with the faces of Latino, African American, Indian, female and a new generation of white dudes from humble beginnings declaring their devotion to America.

But when one is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination, we think it’s kind of important that one actually be a Republican.