With less than three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, the leading Republican presidential candidates met on the debate stage for the sixth time Thursday night.
The candidates discussed everything from fighting ISIS, to gun control, taxes and more as each individual made their case to the American people for why they should be their party’s next nominee.
Last night’s debate was the smallest GOP debate thus far, with just seven candidates on the stage: businessman Donald Trump, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Governors Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.
After a summer dominated by Donald Trump, Ben Carson came out of nowhere towards the end of October and, according to several national polls, took the lead from the seemingly unstoppable real estate mogul in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Unfortunately for Carson, his collapse may be even quicker than his unexpected rise to political fame.
With the presidential election less than a year away, the race for the nomination is heating up on both sides of the aisle.
Republican candidates met on the debate stage last week for their fourth debate of the primary season. Last night, the three remaining Democratic candidates met at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, for their second debate.
The race for the Democratic nomination has dwindled to three candidates since the last debate, as Senators Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee dropped out earlier this month. Now the battle for the nomination is between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, with all three meeting on the stage last night.
Without further ado, here are five takeaways from the second Democratic debate:
1) Debate in the Shadow of Tragedy
Early in the day on Saturday, the last thing on the minds of many Americans was a presidential debate. The tragic events of Friday evening in Paris dominated the news worldwide on Saturday and captivated the hearts and minds of people around the planet.
While the debate went on as scheduled in spite of the attacks, the tragedy had a major impact on the structure and dynamic of the debate. The candidates, moderators and spectators held a moment of silence for the victims prior to the debate. Candidates also offered their condolences in their opening statements.
The candidates for the Republican presidential nomination met on the debate stage once again Tuesday night, as Fox Business Network and The Wall Street Journal hosted the party’s fourth debate of the primary season.
Just like the previous three Republican debates, Tuesday’s event was split into two separate contests to accommodate the large field of candidates still in the running for the GOP nomination.
The bottom four candidates in recent polling averages — Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — met in the “undercard” debate two hours prior to the main debate. The main event, which began at 9 p.m. ET, consisted of the top-eight candidates: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Senator Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Senator Rand Paul and Gov. John Kasich.
After a summer of controversy, surprise and speculation in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, the five candidates finally met on the debate stage for the first time Wednesday night.
The candidates discussed a variety of issues, both foreign and domestic, and outlined how they would lead the country forward if they were elected president in 2016. The debate was the first of six debates scheduled before the Democrats select their nominee next year.
For frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tuesday’s debate was about shifting the focus of her campaign from the ongoing email controversy that has hampered her campaign for months to actual policy objectives. For Senator Bernie Sanders, who is gaining on Clinton in early-voting states but still trails nationally, the debate was about spreading his message to those who may not know him yet and showing the Democratic Party that he is a viable alternative to Clinton.
For the other three candidates—Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee—the debate was about getting noticed. According to polling averages on RealClearPolitics, all three candidates were polling under 1 percent prior to the debate and need to improve their national recognition to stand a chance.
Much of the news regarding the 2016 presidential campaign has, to this point, focused mostly on the Republican presidential primary. After all, the Republican field consists of over a dozen candidates and is likely to be competitive until a nominee is chosen next year.
Recently, however, the Democratic presidential primary has also picked up steam. If last quarter’s fundraising totals for Senator Bernie Sanders are any indication, the race for the Democratic nomination could be just as interesting and competitive as that of the GOP.
Once considered a fringe candidate with little chance of competing with Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sanders has now gained ground or passed Clinton in several polls. Perhaps even more surprisingly, he is beginning to compete with the former Secretary of State in fundraising as well. The Sanders campaign raised $26 million in the fourth fiscal quarter, which falls just $2 million shy of Clinton’s $28 million.
After a difficult summer for her campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton received some encouraging news earlier this week. According to a CNN/ORC poll released Sept. 21, Clinton’s lead over Senator Bernie Sanders has grown in recent weeks.
The poll, which surveyed 392 registered Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, gave the former First Lady and Secretary of State an 18-point lead over the independent Senator from Vermont. Of those surveyed, 42 percent said they would most likely support Clinton for the Democratic nomination, while 24 percent chose Sanders. Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet decided if he’s running in 2016, finished in third place with 22 percent of the vote.
“Because of [Clinton’s] experience as a career politician, she has a solid chance of being at the top,” said Kamyar Dastani, a freshman finance major who identifies with the Republican Party. “Bernie has support in many of the smaller states, but he simply doesn’t have the widespread support of the whole country yet.”
Just two weeks ago, the same CNN/ORC poll had Clinton leading Sanders by a 10-point margin—with Clinton taking 37 percent of the vote and Sanders taking 27 percent. The five-point bump is the first time Clinton’s numbers have improved in the CNN/ORC poll since mid-April, when she was taking 69 percent of the vote.