A few days ago, Fox News invited the republican candidates with the best poll ratings to one of the most important debates in the presidential run. The Iowa Caucus is only a few days away and we just had the 7th GOP debate in Des Moines, Iowa. One of the main surprises came from the Republican’s leading candidate, Donald Trump, who decided to skip the meeting. The multi-billionaire announced he won’t show up because of FOX moderator Megyn Kelly, who he claims to be biased against him. While Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Rand Paul spent an evening showing off and throwing dirt at each other, Donald Trump was a few miles away from the feud, raising $5 million in a fundraiser for America’s military veterans. At the same time, in the undercard debate, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore faced each other.
With the current poll leader absent, Ted Cruz occupied the middle of the stage and decided to set the tone of the discussion by mocking and imitating Trump, right from the beginning. What followed was an evening of petty squabbles and typical political debates, with everyone trying to position themselves in the spotlight.
In short, after attacking Trump, Ted Cruz spent most of the evening fending off attacks from all of his rivals on stage. Jeb Bush had a very good night. He managed to dodge some bullets and outmaneuvered Cruz and Rubio on immigration issues. He came off the stage as one of the most thoughtful candidates on the challenges we are currently facing. Rand Paul also managed to hold his position on surveillance and immigration, making valuable points. Chris Christie joined the typical political debates by focusing on his position as governor and attacking other candidates which are senators, as well as Hilary Clinton. Rather unnoticed, John Kasich stayed clear of volatile claims, promoting cooperation and more cautiousness in solving our nation’s problems. With Trump gone, the debate became very political and Ben Carson didn’t show up as much. The undercard debate was similar in many ways. While Fiorina attacked Hilary Clinton, Santorum rejected the undercard label and urged Iowans to pick the leader they know to be the best for their country, meaning himself. Huckabee tried to relate to the general public via one of his middle class supporters, Thomas. Gilmour only managed to get some social media attention. The great winner from last night could actually be the candidate that missed the whole thing. Floating above the fray, Trump is very well positioned to grow even stronger from now on.
It seems none of the candidates believe Trump to be a serious contender in a general sense and therefore focus on attacking every other candidate except him. This is great news for the multi-billionaire as he managed to remain unscathed. Even if he would have seemingly won debates over his rivals, it would have been almost impossible to dodge the video montages FOX put together against each candidate. He managed to stay clear of such volatile topics, while also doing well by the military veterans.
In theory, consolidating all non-Trump voters behind a single candidate would defeat him. However in light of last night’s debates, it seems unlikely this would happen. Donald Trump might actually have a very good chance of winning the elections. As long as he stays in the game, positions himself separate from the flock and continues to dodge bullets. Any of his rivals quitting the race could be beneficial to him. Cruz voters may like his defiance of GOP leadership, while Christie voters might like his northeastern regional identity. Kasich voters may appreciate his moderation on the welfare state, while Bush voters might be lured by his attitude to get things done. Rubio voters might not be interested, but some could relate to Trump’s American nationalism and advertising of national greatness.
Who do you think is so far the best candidate to represent your interests in the following elections? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.