On Wednesday October 28 the Republican presidential candidates squared off in the third debate of this primary cycle. Below are responses from four members of College Republicans.
THE THIRD REPUBLICAN DEBATE: WHAT CAN IT TEACH US?
Much of the initial bandying about the last week’s Republican Presidential Debate centered on the perceived incompetence of the moderators. It is true that the moderators made value judgements about the seriousness of Donald Trump’s campaign, and it is also true that John Harwood repeated a lie about Senator Rubio’s tax plan. This was egregiously lazy journalism on Mr. Harwood’s part, for he had previously made and corrected this same mistake about the Rubio tax plan. The moderators did not know their facts, which made it harder for them to defend correct assertions about content on Mr. Trump’s website, or about Dr. Carson’s past product endorsements. However, the moderators did succeed in shining a light on the dynamics of this campaign. Through the rancor, the viewing audience got a much clearer picture of the state of the race than we had previously seen.
ESTABLISHMENT'S CURSE: JOHN KASICH AND THE PRIMARY'S DOUBLE-STANDARD
To be fair, I’m an ardent John Kasich supporter. But to many (including myself) watching last Wednesday, he barely registered. The night before the debate, Governor Kasich, who had conducted, to some insiders’ surprise, a relatively calm campaign, unleashed a tirade against this “crazy election” that had him openly questioning: “What has happened to our party? What has happened to the conservative movement?” With desperation and disbelief, he announced that he has “about had it with these people,” and ridiculed Mr. Trump’s nativist ideas on immigration, as well as Dr. Carson’s tithing-based tax reform and now-abandoned plan to end Medicare.
Just a few months ago, Jeb topped the polls: he dominated all other candidates in fundraising, with a record total; he had the best odds on political betting markets; and many pundits predicted a Jeb! victory. Now, with his campaign funding drying up, recent news of cuts to his staff, collapsing poll numbers and political experts already conducting a Jeb! autopsy, the American people (and more importantly donors) were looking to see if Jeb could, with a stellar debate performance, reverse the downward trend. Perhaps a good night could remind voters why they once thought he should be their nominee. Unfortunately for Governor Bush, his pathetic night probably ended his presidential hopes. Few had high expectations, but even fewer had even their low expectations met.
CAN CHRISTIE CAPITALIZE?
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s strong performance during last week’s CNBC GOP Debate placed the two-term governor among the winners of the event. Faced with the backdrop of sagging poll numbers, Christie needed to stand out to avoid being completely ruled out of the race for the nomination. Before the debate, Christie was polling in ninth place, according to Real Clear Politics and his war chest only amounted to a modest $1.4 million as disclosed by third quarter FEC filings. Additionally, a story whirling around the media about his ejection from the quiet car on an Amtrak train in the week preceding the debate served as a distraction.
The image featured in this article was taken by Gage Skidmore. The original image can be found here.