The moderators of the second Republican presidential debate, hosted by Fox Enterprise and Univision, pressed the seven GOP hopefuls assembled within the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday evening to handle the issues of the broader American public with questions that had been at instances, nicely, downright reasonable in nature.
The candidates’ responses had been nonetheless usually aimed on the right-wing Republican base relatively than the overall citizens or the inquiring moderators.
One after one, on subjects together with the United Auto Staff strike, the minority achievement hole, the Reasonably priced Care Act and Florida’s Black historical past curriculum, the moderators tried to push the candidates out of their consolation zones and got here again wanting.
Immigration and the fentanyl disaster ― an issue that, by the way, Republicans blame on undocumented immigrants ― had been two telling examples. Univision anchor Ilia Calderón, who started the night by extending a welcome in Spanish, performed then-President Ronald Reagan’s phrases in 1984 by which he expressed openness to granting “amnesty” to undocumented immigrants ― a step he formally took two years later.
She then pressed former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who supported bipartisan immigration reform earlier than lurching rightward on the subject throughout his 2016 presidential run, to make clear the place he stands on laws that would offer a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“The issue is that since nobody has executed something since we first had this dialogue 13 years in the past, we’re not ready to do any of that anymore,” Christie mentioned. “What now we have to do now could be first deal with this just like the legislation enforcement drawback it’s.”
Calderón later requested entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy how he would tackle an inflow of fentanyl that comes virtually totally by official U.S. ports of entry and is usually transported by U.S. residents ― relatively than the right-wing narrative that it’s being smuggled over the border by undocumented immigrants.
Ramaswamy, who has promised to deport all undocumented immigrants and their U.S.-born kids, ignored the premise of the query and doubled down on his plan to have the navy go to conflict with the Mexican drug cartels.
“We have now to make use of our personal navy to seal the Swiss cheese of a southern border,” he mentioned, including that he would tackle home “demand” for fentanyl by enhancing psychological well being care.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took the chance to chime in. “Every little thing he mentioned I agree with. That’s the reason as commander in chief I’m going to make use of the U.S. navy to go after the Mexican drug cartels.”
“These Mexican drug cartels are going to be handled just like the terrorists,” DeSantis added.
Listed here are another takeaways from Wednesday’s debate:
When It Involves Unions, The GOP Is Nonetheless Reagan’s Social gathering.
The primary two questions of the night had been concerning the United Auto Staff strike and the hole between government compensation and peculiar staff’ pay.
However some lip service to rank-and-file union members’ issues, the candidates virtually uniformly seemed like merchandise of Reagan’s union-busting GOP.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina just lately praised Reagan’s era-defining resolution to fireplace putting air visitors controllers in reference to the UAW strike, saying, “To the extent that we will use that after once more, completely.”
Fox Enterprise’s Stuart Varney requested him flatly, “Would you fireplace hundreds of putting autoworkers right this moment, senator?”
“Clearly, the president of america can’t fireplace anyone within the personal sector,” Scott replied, earlier than rattling off his grievances with organized labor.
Scott faulted the UAW for demanding a 32-hour workweek and blamed Biden for allotting $86 billion to bail out failing union pension funds. He didn’t point out that the pensions had been in bother in no small half on account of company bankruptcies in growing older industries.
Requested to reply subsequent, Ramaswamy declared that he agreed with the “spirit” of what Scott mentioned.
“I don’t have a variety of endurance for the union bosses,” mentioned Ramaswamy, utilizing a pejorative for democratically elected union officers. “I feel that’s the place he and I even have a typical view. I do have a variety of sympathy for the employees.”
In a second query about earnings inequality, Varney famous that auto business CEOs make 336 instances what their common staff make. He requested Pence to clarify what he meant when he mentioned that he helps the autoworkers but in addition helps “how these firms function” ― together with the excessive CEO pay. “Which is it?” Varney requested, framing it as a zero-sum tradeoff between staff and CEOs.
Pence was having none of it.
“Whereas the union bosses are speaking about class warfare and speaking concerning the disparity in wages, I’ve to let you know, I actually consider what’s driving that’s that ‘Bidenomics’ has failed,” he mentioned earlier than lighting into the liberal financial and environmental insurance policies that he believes are stopping wages from holding tempo with inflation.
DeSantis Had A Strong Night time – By DeSantis’ Requirements.
Ron DeSantis has had a troublesome major so far. He fought for airtime in his first debate efficiency whereas failing to go away a mark. And his marketing campaign’s restructuring ― learn: mass layoffs ― has didn’t arrest a slide within the polls that has seen him drop to fifth place in a current survey of Republican major voters within the early major state of New Hampshire.
But when Ramaswamy stole the present in Milwaukee in August, DeSantis discovered time to shine in Wednesday’s showdown in Simi Valley, California. The truth is, he narrowly received probably the most talking time of any candidate.
The Florida governor turned a query about training coverage into an prolonged riff about his private biography, together with his resolution to serve within the navy after 9/11, which drew applause from the gang.
“I’ve been a blue-collar child, minimal wage and studied in Florida,” he mentioned. “I ended up getting by Yale and Harvard Legislation College and by some means got here out extra conservative than after I went in, and that isn’t simple to do. Had a variety of alternatives to earn money, however I wished to serve.”
DeSantis was maybe strongest whereas defending his file enacting right-wing insurance policies in Florida. He argued that solely he, a villain for the left, had endured the liberal resistance and nationwide scrutiny wanted to check his mettle for the presidency.
“You may all the time speak, however when it will get sizzling in there, after they’re taking pictures arrows at you, are you going to be stand-up for folks’ rights, hold the state free?” he requested. “I’ve executed it whereas others have talked about it.”
In fact, DeSantis had his share of face-plants as nicely. His solutions when pressed on his state’s excessive price of individuals with out medical insurance had been missing.
And it’s not clear how a lot the talk improved his standing relative to Trump, who stays the sphere’s runaway chief. However at a second when DeSantis wanted a very good evening, he received one.
No Solutions On Well being Care.
An necessary factor occurred when Fox Information’ Dana Perino requested Pence whether or not Obamacare was “right here to remain.” As an alternative of answering the query, Pence determined to answer a earlier query about mass shootings and gun violence. Perino adopted up: “Does that imply Obamacare is right here to remain?” He nonetheless didn’t reply the query.
No candidate had an actual reply about what to do about medical insurance within the debate. Nobody known as for repealing Obamacare, as each candidate did in each the 2012 and 2016 GOP primaries. And nobody provided a lot of an answer for rising well being care costs, that are the main reason for chapter, or for the tens of millions who nonetheless lack medical insurance even with Obamacare.
Haley gave probably the most substantive response by arguing for worth transparency in well being care and tort reform. Her reply was a standard-issue, market-oriented, anti-trial lawyer reply that any Republican might have given over the previous two or three many years.
When DeSantis was requested why 2.5 million Floridians don’t have medical insurance, he couldn’t reply the query. (Florida is one among 11 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid as supplied for beneath Obamacare.)
On one of many greatest points and prices for People, the GOP appears to be utterly out of concepts.
Vivek And Trump Acquired Dinged.
Ramaswamy was the large story following the primary GOP debate after he attacked his opponents as “purchased and paid for,” derided Reagan’s “Morning in America” sunny disposition and heaped reward on Donald Trump. By the tip of the second GOP debate, he was begging for his rivals to observe Reagan’s eleventh commandment: “Thou shalt not converse unwell of any fellow Republican.”
Along with his highschool debate type and smarmy presentation, Ramaswamy, who at 38 was the youngest candidate on stage, clearly irritated his fellow major candidates, particularly Haley.
“Each time I hear you, I really feel a bit bit dumber for what you say,” Haley mentioned to Ramaswamy after he defined how social media influencer Jake Paul satisfied him to affix TikTok.
Scott received the Vivek-bashing off to a begin by attacking Ramaswamy for doing enterprise in China when he ran a pharmaceutical firm. However the massive pile-on got here on a serious coverage level that at present divides the Republican Social gathering: the Russia-Ukraine Conflict. After Ramaswamy declared that “simply because Putin is an evil dictator doesn’t imply that Ukraine is nice,” the candidates jumped on him.
“A win for Russia, is a win for China,” Haley repeated quite a few instances.
“Vivek, if you happen to let Putin have Ukraine, that could be a inexperienced mild for China to take Taiwan,” Pence shouted over Ramaswamy.
Trump, the front-runner within the race, additionally took hits, however this time from somebody apart from Christie, who has made it his mission to run towards Trump. In his first response of the evening, DeSantis attacked Trump for being “lacking in motion” from the talk stage and blamed him for rising inflation.
“He owes it to you to defend his file, the place they added $7.8 trillion to the debt that set the stage for the inflation that now we have,” DeSantis mentioned.
DeSantis additionally attacked Trump for not being on the debate to defend his criticism of six-week abortion bans, just like the one DeSantis signed into legislation in Florida.
“[Trump] must be right here explaining his feedback … that pro-life protections are by some means a horrible factor,” DeSantis mentioned.
Haley additionally attacked Trump for his file on China. She claimed that Trump targeted solely on the difficulty of commerce concerning China however ignored “that they had been shopping for up our farmland,” “stealing $600 billion in mental property,” “put a spy base off our shores in Cuba” and “that every one of our legislation enforcement drones in America are Chinese language.”
“Who am I? What am I doing right here?” That’s what you may be asking your self after watching this second GOP presidential debate.
The explanation chances are you’ll be questioning the purpose of all of that is that, for the second time, the GOP debate stage didn’t embody the front-runner, Donald Trump. Regardless of the first marketing campaign raging for many of 2023, Trump has solely gained floor within the polls. In February, he led DeSantis by simply 2 share factors in polling averages. Now? Trump leads all the different GOP candidates mixed by almost 20 factors.
Trump’s place is so strong that President Joe Biden is already operating adverts attacking him, and Trump spent the evening campaigning in swingy Macomb County, Michigan, relatively than worrying concerning the debate in California.
So what’s even the purpose of those debates? Listed here are seven candidates who suppose they need to be the subsequent president of america, however solely one among them is cracking 10% within the polls. None of them have damaged out with major voters thus far. The truth is, DeSantis, that one candidate over 10%, has seen his ballot numbers slide for the reason that first debate. He could have had a strong evening within the second debate, however neither he nor any of the opposite candidates did something to reply the 2 foremost questions on this race: How are they totally different from Trump? And why shouldn’t Trump be the occasion’s nominee?
It’s not all on them. This race is exclusive. There is no such thing as a precedent for difficult a former president in an open major for the reason that adoption of the trendy major system in 1972. Trump has additionally reached a legendary standing with the GOP base. He got here out of the tv, descended that escalator in 2015 and spoke on to the anxieties and fears within the Republican soul.
So, what’s left for these also-rans? In his speech at a non-union auto components store on Wednesday evening, Trump declared that he is not going to choose any of his 2024 major rivals as his vice presidential nominee. In order that’s out of the query, relying on how a lot you suppose Trump’s phrases are price. Some, like Ramaswamy, could also be positioning themselves for future political campaigns.
However for the remainder of them, what’s the purpose? Maybe it’s that politicians are like sharks. They’ll solely transfer ahead. As soon as they’ve reached a sure level of their careers, operating for president is the final ahead transfer to make. However if you wish to win, it’s important to be prepared to chew. And none of those sharks have figured that out but.