Second Debate for 2024 Republican Presidential Candidates

Posted by on Oct 5, 2023 in Stuff You Should Know, United States

The second primary debate for the Republican presidential nomination was held in Simi Valley, California, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on September 27, 2023. Seven of the candidates took to the stage. Former President Donald Trump, the front-runner, chose not to participate. Also, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson failed to qualify for this debate.  

The GOP Field on Stage 

The seven candidates participating in the debate were: 

  • Doug Burgum – Governor of North Dakota 
  • Chris Christie – Former Governor of New Jersey 
  • Ron DeSantis – Governor of Florida 
  • Nikki Haley – Former United Nations Ambassador 
  • Mike Pence – Former Vice President under Donald Trump  
  • Vivek Ramaswamy – Tech Entrepreneur  
  • Tim Scott – U.S. Senator from South Carolina 

The Absence of Former President Trump 

So far, former President Trump has not participated in the debates. His rivals spent part of their time attacking him for his absence. Christie said Trump was not there because he was afraid of having to defend his record. Trump remains the front-runner for the Republican nomination, however. According to national polls, he is leading his Republican competitors by 40 to 54 percentage points. Ron DeSantis is currently polling right behind Trump, but he is 40 points back. 

Opinions on Debate Topics 

The seven candidates spent two hours explaining their positions on a broad range of topics. This included the ongoing United Auto Workers strike, immigration challenges at the southern U.S. border, education, childcare, foreign policy, and oil and gas production.   

On the topic of immigration, Nikki Haley proposed adding more border patrol agents to the southern border. She also suggested using a policy of processing and then deporting undocumented immigrants. Under current immigration policy, undocumented immigrants are processed and then released into the United States. Chris Christie suggested that law enforcement take charge of the rise in migrants. Ron DeSantis has also said that his immigration policy would involve military troops to enforce the border and that he would support mass detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants. Vivek Ramaswamy said he supports ending birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants. Birthright citizenship means that a child born in the United States is a U.S. citizen, regardless of their parents’ citizenship. Tim Scott has previously questioned the legality of ending birthright citizenship. Scott says that he thinks a president would not be able to make this change on their own. It would require a Constitutional amendment. 

In the area of foreign policy, the candidates were generally united in their concern about China. China’s economic power in the tech economy was mentioned by several candidates. The GOP rivals also shared concerns about the relationship  between China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. 

The Third Debate 

The third Republican presidential debate is to be held in Miami, Florida, on November 8, 2023.   As with the first two debates, the candidates that appear on stage  must qualify to attend.  According to a Reuters new article, to participate in November, a candidate must receive at least 4 percent support in two national polls, or 4 percent in one national poll as well as  4 percent support in two polls held in early state polls.  The candidates must also have a minimum of 70,000 unique donors—with at least 200 donors from 20 or more states or territories. These qualifications could still be changed by the Republican National Committee before the November event.  

What Do You Think? Based on what you’ve read here, and what you’ve heard and seen in the news, which candidate has the strongest chance of becoming the Republican nominee for president? Explain why.