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GOP debate recap: Who won and who lost in second Republican showdown


Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis call out Trump for not showing up to debate

The second Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, descended into chaos on several occasions with candidates speaking over each other.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum all took part.

Much like in the first debate, Mr Ramaswamy quickly became the focus of the attacks of the other candidates on Wednesday night as he was slammed for his voting record and alleged business connections to China.

Several candidates called out former President Donald Trump for not attending the showdown to instead speaking to auto workers in Michigan, where he said none of those running would be his VP candidate.

Several shouting matches broke out during the roughly two hours of debating on Fox Business as the moderators lost control while the candidates appeared desperate to get their lines in.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called out Mr Trump directly to the camera and was later mocked for calling him “Donald Duck” for ducking the debate.

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Nikki Haley’s approach to abortion is rooted in her earliest days in South Carolina politics

As a state representative running a longshot campaign for South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley would often explain her opposition to abortion with a story about her family.

“I’m strongly pro-life, very pro-life, and not because my party tells me to be, but my husband was adopted, and so every day I know the blessings of having him there,” she said in 2010.

She won that race and was reelected as governor before serving as former President Donald Trump‘s United Nations ambassador. She’s now competing against Trump as the only woman seeking the Republican presidential nomination. And in a primary race animated by questions over the future of abortion access in the U.S., Haley is reviving the personal anecdote she would give in South Carolina — almost verbatim.

“I am unapologetically pro-life, not because the Republican Party tells me, but because my husband was adopted, and I live with that blessing every day,” she told a New Hampshire audience in May.

Haley is gaining attention in the GOP race with her calls for “consensus” around abortion, an unusual tone in a campaign where Republican White House hopefuls often prefer to highlight their eagerness to fight President Joe Biden and other Democrats. Her supporters say she has staked out a consistent approach from her earliest days in politics, challenging fellow Republicans to be pragmatic in their pursuit of a deeply conservative agenda.

Meg Kinnard27 September 2023 12:00

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To TikTok or not to TikTok? One GOP candidate joins the app even as he calls it ‘digital fentanyl’

Republican presidential hopefuls have largely shunned TikTok, the hugely popular video-sharing app that some in both parties allege is a potential spy mechanism for China.

But entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy recently became the first 2024 candidate to join the platform, which says it has over 150 million U.S. users. That’s even as he’s accused Beijing of pushing TikTok as “digital fentanyl” to Americans and wants the app banned entirely.

“We’re in this to reach young people, to energize young people, and to do that, we can’t just hide,” Ramaswamy said in his first post earlier this month. “You can’t play in the game, and then not play in the game, so we’re here.”

His competitors face the same conundrum. With U.S.-China tensions already running high, the Republicans running for president have all called for new economic and political measures to punish Beijing. Several major GOP candidates have said they want to ban TikTok. But they also want to reach the younger audiences that don’t watch television ads but consume videos on TikTok or similar apps.

Many campaigns produce short video clips that can be shared between apps, a workaround to not being on TikTok directly. Or they work with conservative influencers on the app who argue Republicans need to engage on it.

Meg Kinnard, Adriana Gomez Licon27 September 2023 13:00

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Debate drinking game tradition resurfaces for Republican primary showdown

The first debate of an election season can be a foreboding proposition given that you may suddenly realise during it that we’re all on this runaway train now until 20 January 2025 when someone will be sworn in as president.

And yet here we are at the first Republican Party primary debate of the 2024 election. Even without the chaotic presence of former President Donald Trump (though his campaign has released a DeSantis-themed bingo card for tonight), it still could be quite a scene…

If you’re a Democrat, you’ll likely be horrified by what you on stage tonight. If you’re a Republican, you’ll either be scoffing at the also-rans taking pot-shots at each other in Milwaukee — while your preferred candidate sits at home in Bedminster considering his indictments — or you’ll possibly be despairing as your favourite candidate fails to get traction in the crowded field.

Never fear, as has become a tradition with such political minefield events, there are always the inevitable drinking games to fall back on and take the edge off the evening.

Oliver O’Connell27 September 2023 14:00

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Who is running for president in 2024?

With less than two years remaining until US voters will decide who will serve as president of the United States from January 2025 to January 2029, former Republican government officials are starting to jockey for position in the coming fight for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, while at least two Democrats challenge President Joe Biden in a Democratic primary.

Andrew Feinberg, Ariana Baio27 September 2023 15:08

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What have GOP candidates said about strikes and unions?

Before the election of Donald Trump, it would have been more or less unthinkable for a Republican to be criticised for invoking Ronald Reagan.

But as college graduates move towards the Democrats and more socially conservative working-class voters towards the GOP, Republican candidates can no longer invoke the Golden State governor and B-list actor and be sure that whatever they say will be a slam dunk.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott figured this out the hard way on the campaign trail. As both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump speak to the United Auto Workers Union this week, both of them will attempt to appear to be on the side of the workers.

Mr Scott was hit with a complaint from the union after he was asked about his view of the labour negotiations following the UAW’s decision to strike against the Big Three automakers.

“Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike,” he said.

Mr Reagan fired thousands of air traffic controllers after they went on strike in 1981.

“He said, ‘You strike, you’re fired.’ Simple concept to me. To the extent that we can use that once again, absolutely,” Mr Scott said in Iowa earlier this month, even as the GOP has come to rely more and more on blue-collar workers.

But the Republican Party today remains anti-union, especially when considering what General Dwight Eisenhower told the American Federation of Labor when he was running for president in 1952.

“Today in America unions have a secure place in our industrial life,” he said. “Only a handful of unreconstructed reactionaries harbour the ugly thought of breaking unions. Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of the right to join the union of their choice.”

Gustaf Kilander27 September 2023 15:30

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Donald Trump’s play for union votes leaves the GOP in a confusing spot once again

Former President Donald Trump will touch down in Michigan on Wednesday, following up Joe Biden’s historic appearance on a United Autoworkers (UAW) picket line with his own address to striking factory workers and the broader Rust Belt that carried him to victory in 2016 and defeat four years later.

According to a handful of news outlets including the Detroit Free Press, the ex-president will address “500 former or current union members”, apparently part of the event he is hosting at Drake Enterprises in Clinton Township. But that’s where the certainty ends, and the GOP once again, thanks to Donald Trump, careens into uncertain territory.

There are already several inconsistencies that are adding up to make Mr Trump’s visit to the state he snatched away from Hillary Clinton a mess of unclear policy stances and disjointed pro-worker rhetoric. What the former president ends up saying at Wednesday’s event is truly anyone’s guess, other than the near-certainty that he will address the ongoing criminal prosecutions hounding his every step.

John Bowden27 September 2023 16:00

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Can Trump be banned from 2024 presidential race? Legal experts divided on 14th amendment arguments

As Donald Trump looks increasingly likely to be the 2024 Republican nominee for president, it continues to look more and more plausible that there could be a serious effort to keep him off the ballot entirely.

Following his presidency ending in a bloody battle on Capitol Hill, Mr Trump remains the de facto leader of the Republican Party, at least among its primary voting electorate.

Recent polls show the ex-president supported by as many as six in 10 of GOP primary voters nationally, while he also continues to hold commanding leads in early primary and caucus states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

But winning a primary election is one thing; winning a general election is another. And as Mr Trump consolidates his support within the GOP, some politicians and constitutional law experts alike are growing more vocal about the possibility of simply denying the Republican Party’s candidate from appearing on the ballot next November at all.

The idea centres around the utilisation of a clause in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, originally intended to keep supporters of the South’s failed cause of secession from being elected to office, which bars those who take part in insurrections or who have “given aid or comfort to the enemies” of the United States government from taking office.

John Bowden27 September 2023 16:30

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Trump will skip second GOP debate to give speech to striking workers

Donald Trump will skip the second Republican presidential primary debate and speak to a crowd of union workers in Detroit amid the ongoing auto strike.

The snub comes after Mr Trump also skipped the first GOP debate of the season last month, choosing instead to sit down with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson for an interview broadcast on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The former president, who stands well ahead of the crowded Republican field in the polls, has downplayed the importance of the debates.

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more,” he wrote on Truth Social in August. “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

The lack of a debate presence has done little to impact his front-runner status.

A national average of polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight shows Mr Trump with almost four times the support of his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, with a projected 54.7 per cent support among Republican voters to the governor’s 13.9 per cent as of 26 September.

Josh Marcus27 September 2023 17:00

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What the GOP candidates have said about abortion rights

The issue of abortion rights in the United States is staring the 2024 GOP presidential candidates in their faces as they prepare to kick their campaigns into high gear.

Since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark case Roe v Wade (1973) last summer, abortion has become a top concern for many voters.

Though the anti-abortion stance has long been associated with the Republican Party, approximately 61 per cent of adults in the US believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to Pew Research Center – that statistic includes Republican and Democratic voters.

As Americans look toward their next Republican presidential nominee, no doubt many will be considering where the candidate stands on abortion when determining who they support.

Ariana Baio27 September 2023 17:30

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A timeline of Donald Trump’s rivalry with Ron DeSantis

During his own tenure in the White House in 2018, Mr Trump loudly cheered Mr DeSantis’s bid for the governor’s mansion, throwing his weight behind the former congressman and appearing at rallies to stump for him, playing an important role in the candidate’s narrow defeat of Democratic rival and Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum.

Since then, however, a great deal of water has passed beneath the bridge and the two men are now increasingly antagonistic towards one another.

Mr Trump has been busy yelling a steady stream of insults and barbed nicknames across the state from Mar-a-Lago, the majority of which Mr DeSantis has wisely allowed to pass without public comment.

Joe Sommerlad27 September 2023 18:00


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