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The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

Donald ‘ducks’ the debate

For the second time, Donald Trump did not appear at the Republican primary debates
Donald Trump was absent from the debate, which was a hot topic of conversation
Wikimedia Commons
Donald Trump was absent from the debate, which was a hot topic of conversation

The second GOP debate kicked off where various contenders vying to win the Republican party’s nomination battled it out as they attempted to articulate their visions for the country and gain traction in the polls. A range of issues was covered during the two hour broadcast from the fentanyl epidemic to the war in Ukraine to the US/Mexico border crisis. However, the debate was missing a familiar face, the leader in the polls for the party’s nomination: Donald Trump. 

Presidential debates hold significant importance for students at John Carroll University as they strive to fulfill their civic responsibility and become well-informed voters. This election will have far-reaching implications for every U.S. citizen and, while it can be difficult to watch full-grown adults squabble, interrupt and insult each other, the debates provide a platform for voters to decide who will be making the important decisions for the US for the next four years.

The debate took place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Reagan was one of the most prominent presidents in the last fifty years and this was a symbolic and nostalgic venue for the candidates, reminding the nation of his legacy and the impact of his presidency on the GOP. 

Seven candidates took the stage, arranged by polling data, with leading candidates in the middle and less popular candidates on the edges. In the middle was Florida Governor Ron Desantis. To his left was former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley, and to his right was Ohio-born Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Adjacent to Ramaswamy and Haley were South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. Lastly, making up the edges were North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Vice President Mike Pence

The stage was set, inviting the potential for a dynamic exchange of ideas, although the degree to which this occurred remains a matter of subjective interpretation. The elephant in the room, of course, was the absence of the frontrunner, Donald Trump. 

Instead, Trump made a showing in Detroit, the current site of the labor dispute between striking autoworkers and the nation’s leading auto manufacturers. Candidates all night commented on his truancy. Desantis said, “Donald Trump is missing in action.” “He should be on this stage tonight.” These attacks climaxed when Christie called the former president “Donald Duck” referring to him “ducking” the first debate and now the second. 

This dig looked and sounded like a rehearsed line intended to get more laughs than it did. In fact, the candidates seemed to “duck” questions all night, often going on tangents to unrelated crusades and delivering prepared speeches. The only person who got more heat than Trump was President Biden. 

Candidates criticized the seemingly open border, the current state of the economy coupled with rising inflation and much more. Additionally, they blamed him for the UAW strike and Mike Pence focused on his policy, “Bidenomics.” Pence said, “Wages are not keeping up with inflation. Autoworkers and all American workers are feeling it, and families are struggling in this economy and Joe Biden’s Green New Deal agenda is good for Beijing and bad for Detroit.” This statement was not unlike others made by every single candidate on the stage.

In addition to condemning Trump and Biden, the hopeful nominees criticized each other viciously. At one point, Scott and Haley had a heated disagreement over the State Department spending more than $50,000 on curtains for Haley’s residence as she served as the U.N. Ambassador in the Trump administration. 

In another clash, Haley quarreled with Ramaswamy, a St. Xavier high school alumni, about Tiktok. Ramaswamy addressed the issue of influencer Jake Paul claiming credit for the candidate’s presence on the app, contending that, although he holds the belief that social media can be addictive and should not be used by children under 16, Republicans must use it to speak to the next generation. This led Haley into a frenzy as she preached the dangers of the app due to its Chinese roots and its implications for the future of the country. 

The only candidate who seemingly did not get attacked was Gov. Doug Burgum. Burgum is polling under one percent and tried to get as much screen time as possible. Nevertheless, he was often silenced by moderators, but his effort and insistence to speak remained consistent.

The debate was a “JV debate,” said Biden campaign official Ammar Moussa. While candidates are significantly trailing the former president in Republican primary polls, the premise and purpose of a debate is important to the integrity of our country as a constitutional republic. 

The opportunity to publicly discuss ideas, policies and visions, as well as to be held accountable for things said or done should be a cornerstone for any successful democracy. The platform helps students at John Carroll to make informed and responsible decisions on an election that very well might have life-lasting implications.


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  • J

    jmarkello Oct 14, 2023 at 1:52 pm

    A well-balanced and nicely summarized article.