Analysis by Hassan Baker
The United States presidential election has already proven unpredictable, yet very interesting. The Republican Primaries debate in particular has proven to be very surprising.
There are currently 17 republican candidates which has resulted in some candidates polling at lower than the margin of error. Clinton is currently leading in the Democratic polls, unsurprisingly, and Trump in the Republican polls, astonishingly.
The first Republican Primary debates were held by Fox News on the 6th of August. There were two debates. ‘The Happy Hour Debate’, or more insultingly, ‘The Kids Table’, which had the seven lower polling candidates. ‘The Main Event’ held the 10 higher polling candidates.
‘The Happy Hour’ debate was not very eventful. It was very predictable, and mundane. All the candidates held the same views, and used their time to point out flaws in the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, while offering no clear solutions.
Most of the candidate’s goals were to get name recognition. They all dealt with easy topics that give easy appraisal from Republican voters, like ISIS, and securing the border. It seems apparent that some of the candidates in this debate will either drop out, or run for vice president. The clear winner of this debate was Carly Fiorina who managed to pack the strongest punches in little time given per question, who was the only notable candidate to go after Donald Trump in this debate: ‘I didn’t get a call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race… maybe it’s because I hadn’t given money to the foundation, or donated to his wife’s senate campaign’, she went on to say ‘I think he’s tapped into an anger that people feel, they’re sick of politics as usual’.
She became the highlight of the debate, because unlike the rest, she didn’t play it safe, she didn’t stick to one or two agendas, like some. For example, Lindsey Graham seemed to be determined on starting a war, this was proven by his constant war mongering about ISIS; ‘If we don’t stop them over there, they are coming’, which sounds a lot like George Bush’s ‘fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them here’.
‘The Main Event’ was much more interesting from the start. The questions seemed to be more difficult, and more direct. Donald Trump proved himself to be a juggernaut, rattling the Republican Party from the very first question. The candidates were asked to pledge to not run as an independent, against the Republican Party, Donald Trump was the only one to refuse. This is detrimental to the party, as a third party candidate could steal votes from the Republican Party, and most likely give the election to the Democrats, or most notably Hillary Clinton.
Trump did not seem phased by the statistics, it was almost like he was giving the Republicans an ultimatum, either he represents them, or no one wins the election. Trump did highlight the current problem in the American political system, corporate lobbying. When asked about his stance on Medicare, he talked about how the insurance companies have control over the politicians: ‘The insurance companies are making a fortune, because they have control of the politicians, of course, with the exception of the politicians at this stage’.
He also admitted that he’s bought politicians in the past when asked about his donations to liberal politicians, ‘most of the people on this stage I’ve given to… I will tell you that our system is broken, I gave to many people, before this I was a businessman, I gave to everybody, when they call, I give, and you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me, and that’s a broken system. With Hillary Clinton I said be at my wedding, and she came to my wedding.’
This statement can be taken as a good point for Donald Trump, or a bad one, it really depends on how you look at it. Another politician to stand against money in politics was Ted Cruz, many others refrained from this. It could be because many of them recently met up with the Koch Brothers looking for funding, including Ted Cruz.
Apart from the back and forth between Trump and the other candidates, the candidate that stuck out was Marco Rubio, although he was the youngest, he seemed the most prepared. His statements were clear and concise, he seemed to know exactly what he was doing. He stated that ‘this election cannot be a resume competition, it’s important to be qualified, but if this election is a resume competition then Hillary Clinton is gonna be the next president.’ At first his age seemed like a problem, but now it has proven to be an asset, unlike the other candidates he never had the time to make many bad decisions, or to be linked to negative issues, like Jeb Bush and the Iraq war, Scott Walker on his stance against abortion (even if it means the mother’s death), and Ben Carson’s lack of knowledge and experience when it comes to foreign policy.
There seemed to be an all-around agreement that the Iran Deal will be torn up if either of them takes the presidency. Overall, this debate and its candidates have a long way to go, and as 2016 progresses, we’ll see some climb up the polls, and others fall.