The stage was set in Simi Valley, California at the Ronald Reagan Library when the top 11 Republican nominees took the stage. All eyes were on Donald Trump as many were expecting him to make blunt comments on a variety of issues, such as immigration or the passing of the Iran Deal. In the debate, many candidates emerged by tackling these issues. One of these candidates was Carly Fiorina, who many media outlets, including CNN, Fox, and The Washington Post, considered to be the winner of the debate. Many analysts suggest that she proved herself to be one of the top tier candidates on the stage. New York journalist and CNN contributor Errol Louis said she was the “clearest winner,” as she received roaring applause for both her challenging remarks on Planned Parenthood and her comeback to Trump’s remarks on her appearance.
Another candidate that emerged in the debate was GOP hopeful Senator Marco Rubio. Rather than attacking Trump, Rubio was able to curve the conversation and highlight his own strengths and abilities that would allow him to do well in the White House.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was also able to stand out amongst the 11 candidates as he challenged Trump on his remarks against Bush’s wife, and reassured his supporters that he deserved to be in the White House regardless of his drop in recent polls. Additionally, Bush defended his brother’s ability to keep America safe after 9/11 and during the Iraq War. Bush once again attached himself to his brother’s legacy, which “may hurt him in the long run” said former Ted Cruz aide. Also by continuously mentioning his brother’s achievements and failures, which he wanted to avoid doing in his campaign, is taking away from his own success and draws attention away from his platform.
There were many losers at the debate including Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and Ted Cruz. When asked about issues, Paul failed to highlight his own strengths, but instead continued to attack Trump. Walker, who once had a strong backing in Iowa, did poorly at the debate and recently dropped from the race. Some critics claimed that Carson was a loser at the debate because he was not as vocal as in the previous debates and did not perform like someone who was running in second place behind Trump.
According to CNN and Republican analysts, Huckabee and Cruz did not have any defining moments and overall did not stand out amongst the 11 candidates. Trump had a mediocre performance at the debate as he was attacked by nearly all of the candidates. He was able to fend off attacks and challenged his contenders’ comments, but he was still unable to provide clarity on serious policy is-sues, such as his stance on foreign policy. After the debate, support for Trump decreased while support for Fiorina increased. Nonetheless, Trump is still leading in first place. Currently, the leaders in the polls are Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Bush, and Cruz and Rubio are tied for 5th place.
The next Republican debate is on October 28th and it will be interesting to see if Fiorina will continue her break-out performance. Additionally, it will be exciting to see if Carson will be able to maintain his momentum and can challenge Trump on key political issues. It will also be interesting to find out if Trump will be able to continue to fend off attacks from his running mates, provide clarity on key issues, and maintain his lead in the polls.
-Jordon Lee ’16, Junior Politics/Opinions Editor