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HomePoliticsRepublican Debate Results: Who were the Winners & Losers?

Republican Debate Results: Who were the Winners & Losers?


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Republican Debate Results: Who were the Winners & Losers?

1st GOP debate: Contenders threw themselves into acrimonious arguments.

Some people believed that life without Donald Trump, the consummate showman, would be dull, but that was definitely not the case.

The eight rivals who traveled to Wisconsin during the 2016 primary debates proved they could generate some excitement without the former president’s assistance.

He may have been the party’s lifeline during those debates. However, some candidates stood out from the crowd, while others appeared to be waiting their turn.

The winners and losers are listed below.

Vivek Ramaswamy:

This Republican debate was completely won by the man who never sought public office and who didn’t even vote for a president from 2004 to 2020.

He frequently appeared to be the only contender on stage having fun, with a wide smile and a fast tongue.

That could be partially attributed to the fact that this political newcomer has outperformed expectations and is essentially using the public purse while he assumes the spotlight.

He successfully repelled jabs from his rivals who claimed that Mr. Christie was trying out for a show on the liberal news network MSNBC and that Ms. Haley was vying for jobs on the defense contractor’s board of directors with her views on Ukraine.

During a debate on climate change, he asserted,

“I’m the only person on stage who isn’t bought and paid for,” drawing screams of protest from his opponents.

Mr. Ramaswamy often cast himself as the outsider competing against a group of insiders from the political establishment.

Many of his beliefs, such as urging Ukraine to hand up territory to Russia, securing the US-Mexico border with military action, and forbidding US corporations from doing business with China, fall far outside the Republican Party’s political mainstream.

However, Mr. Trump showed in 2016 that even absurd and unrealistic policy suggestions can be successful in garnering attention.

The evening’s debate made it clear that Mr. Ramaswamy would continue to play a role in this contest in the coming months even if he had the political clout to challenge Mr. Trump for the nomination or even wanted to.

Mike Pence:

The seasoned politician, who has held positions as a congressman, governor, and vice president, still has some grit.

Despite the fact that his presidential campaign has stalled—he is despised by Trump fans and mistrusted by Trump detractors—his previous debate experience helped him on Wednesday night.

He attacked Mr. Ramaswamy’s lack of experience right away, stating, “Now is not the time for on-the-job training.”

He made an impassioned, religious argument for national abortion restrictions.

This won’t go over well in the general election of the following year. However, it might help Trump win over evangelical Republicans, who have the power to tip the scale in crucial states like South Carolina and Iowa, where the choice of the party’s nominee matters more than most.

Mr. Pence got the final word during the second half of the debate when Mr. Trump was brought up.

He claimed that on January 6, 2021, when he refused to annul the election results at Mr. Trump’s request, he placed the Constitution first. Even a few of his competitors spoke up for him.

Although Mr. Pence’s campaign continues to face significant obstacles, for at least one evening he demonstrated why many conservative Republicans once thought he was a viable candidate for the presidency.

Nikki Haley:

The former US ambassador to the UN has a history of catching people off guard.

Even when she ran against more seasoned Republican candidates for governor of South Carolina, she has never lost a race for office.

She distinguished herself on Wednesday night by sharply criticizing both Mr. Trump and the Republican Party as a whole early on.

She added, “Republicans did this to you too,” referring to the enormous US budget imbalance. “They need to stop the borrowing and spending.”

She declared Mr. Trump to be the “most despised politician in America” when the conversation shifted to the former president, warning that the Republican Party would suffer in the general election as a result.

She demonstrated a fighting spirit as well. Regarding the continuation of US aid to Ukraine, which she supports, she disagreed with Mr. Ramaswamy.

She also disagreed with Mr. Pence on the issue of abortion, branding his calls for a federal ban on the practice as impractical and unwise strategically.

Even if she doesn’t manage to lead the pack this time, her performance in the debate may help the 51-year-old position herself for future presidential runs in election cycles without a strong incumbent.


Tim Scott and Chris Christie: Mr. Christie performed as most had anticipated.

He made digs at Mr. Trump, had some snarky remarks about Mr. Ramaswamy, and was generally confrontational and feisty.

Additionally, he received loud jeers when he was introduced, criticized Mr. Trump, and attacked Mr. Ramaswamy.

His best comment was when he remarked that the political novice “sounds like ChatGPT”; yet, that specific turn of phrase did not endear him to the audience.

Tim Scott, on the other hand, was a lovely guy who generally avoided getting involved in the debate’s most contentious exchanges.

That won’t help him win over many votes, but if he wants to be Mr. Trump’s choice for vice president, it might enhance his reputation.


Ron DeSantis: At the beginning of the year, it appeared like Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Trump would face off in a two-man campaign for the Republican nomination.

The governor of Florida has lost ground in the polls since that time.

After this debate, the rest of the Republican pack might have overtaken him if they haven’t already.

It wasn’t a bad performance; he had some good points, especially when he talked about his military service history and his calls for stronger government action to combat the drug epidemic.

However, he was absent from the debate’s pivotal moments at all times. Mr. Ramaswamy outran him by a wide margin.

On topics like abortion and US help to Ukraine, other candidates like Mr. Pence and Ms. Haley shoved him aside.

When the conversation went to Mr. Trump and his latest indictments, he appeared to be standing awkwardly.

This was not the performance that was required to catch up to Mr. Trump. The man who was once touted as the Republican Party’s future was just irrelevant.

Hutchinson & Burgum Secure Debate Spots

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Doug Burgum were the final two contestants to earn spots in the Milwaukee debate.

Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota used a ploy to get on stage, promising enough people $20 gift cards in exchange for a $1 donation to his campaign.

Both candidates were largely afterthoughts who sorely needed to establish their merit in order to win the election.

In comparison to Mr. Christie’s sharper accusations of Mr. Trump, Mr. Hutchinson’s comments came out as weak sauce.

Furthermore, Mr. Burgum’s awe-shucks small-state conservatism was never very notable.

The qualifications for the California primary debate that will take place next month will be more stringent, and neither candidate did enough on Wednesday night to garner the kind of support that will make future visits to the debate stage possible.

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