Nine things that will shape the Republican Party during Wednesday's debate (2023)



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Former President Donald J. Trump will not take the stage in Milwaukee, but his rivals have not yet commented as an alternative.

Nine things that will shape the Republican Party during Wednesday's debate (1)

vonLisa LererJShane Goldmacher

Eight candidates will appear on stage for the first Republican debate on Wednesday. However, much of the focus will be on one person who will not be attending: Donald J. Trump.

The momentum has caused their opponents to brace themselves for an unusual scenario: they debate each other while the favorite, with commanding leadership, is completely absent.

Still, for Trump's rivals, the debate offers the race's largest audience yet and the first chance to not only make a good impression, but turn the race into a real competition.

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican who has chaired the presidential debate twice and is his party's most prominent anti-Trump nominee, gave this advice: "The key for them is not to focus on each other, but on the person who they are looking at. "to be at the top." . you have to hit

But even the most viral moment could soon be wiped out by a tidal wave of Trump-fired news. “In 99 out of 100 future perspectives,” said Newt Gingrich, a former Republican presidential nominee and Speaker of the House of Representatives, "Donald Trump is the Republican nominee and he's not even breathing heavily."

But all eight candidates have a chance to present an alternative to Republican voters. The way they present their arguments could make the 2024 primaries more of a competition than a crowning achievement.

Here are nine things that are likely to dominate the debate.

How present is Trump even when he is absent?

Most likely, a significant portion of the debate will revolve around Trump, his criminal charges, his ongoing questions about the 2020 election, and his responsibility for the January 6 attack on the Capitol. While candidates are often questioned on such issues, a debate provides an opportunity to ask follow-up questions, increasing the likelihood of a misstep.

Trump will now continue to make his mark.He has announced plans to bring the debate to the forefront.with the online release of a taped interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

And on Thursday, the former president plans to meet with authorities in Atlanta to answer the case of election interference, a semblance likely to dominate the news cycle and lessen the impetus his rivals hope the debate will bring.

Can DeSantis be reinstated?


Perhaps the most talked about candidate Wednesday is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The DeSantis team expects him to be targeted. "Many other candidates don't say much about Donald Trump and are more focused on me," DeSantis said on Fox News radio last week.

DeSantis is considered Trump's biggest rival, but has suffered weeks of bad press, waning campaigns and plummeting polls that could spark a self-reinforcing downturn. The debate is your chance to change the narrative.

But that strategy was complicated last week when a series of documents and a debate strategy memo were posted to the website of a company associated with the Super PAC, which inherited some cornerstones of DeSantis' presidential campaign.

The strategy memo outlined "four basic things the governor needs to do" to stop the attacks, including pursuing Vivek Ramaswamy, the businessman and author who has risen to prominence in recent weeks, and defending Trump from attacks by Chris. Christie, who has taken on the role of Trump's main opponent in the race.

The release lands DeSantis in trouble. If you use these attacks, you may miss an opportunity to undermine important opponents. Adhering to this can make you look fake or even seem like a puppet.

Will Pence get Republicans to reconsider their decision?


In mock debates, Mike Pence, Trump's vice president for four years, has prepared to pit his staunch opponent of abortion, his support for Ukraine and his focus on economic growth against the other candidates. However, some of his advisers believe he needs to address a problem in order to get into the polls: his role in certifying the 2020 election points to a traitor.

His team hopes the debate will give Pence a bigger stage to lay out the arguments he often puts forward along the way: that he simply fulfilled his constitutional duty on January 6.

Does Ramaswamy live up to the hype?


Ramaswamy, a wealthy businessman and political novice, has gained ground courting MAGA supporters who want a next-gen version of Trump. He represented several far-right positions and said Trump's "America First" agenda doesn't go far enough.

Ramaswamy has taken a more informal approach to preparing for the debate, holding policy talks with advisers while touring the country extensively, visiting nine states in the past week. Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old Harvard graduate, has mainly focused on the study of foreign policy. Victoria Coates, a former Trump administration official, was one of those who tipped her off, according to a campaign adviser. He prefers less structured sessions that don't seem overly productive, the consultant said.

Many candidates with much more political experience came to an end in the glow of the debate. Can Mr. Ramaswamy's achievements match his swagger?

How do political differences influence the debate?

Two issues have divided the Republican camp more than any other: the right to abortion and support for Ukraine in its war against Russia. The war in Ukraine has exposed a rift between foreign policy hawks and the anti-interventionist wing of the party.

As for the right to abortion, an issue that has been debated since Roe v. led to Democratic victories. Wade was recalled last year because Republicans struggled to agree on a central position. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott says he will fight for a 15-week federal ban, Pence has expressed support for a six-week ban and Christie says the matter should be left to the states.

Pence, Scott and Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the UN under Trump, want to highlight these differences and see them as an opportunity to gain support from different partisan factions. The response from Republican voters will provide some initial clues about the party's ideological future, especially in a post-Trump era.

Will Christie use her firepower against DeSantis?


Besides Trump, Christie is the most experienced debater in the field, with a knack for memorable strikes. He participated in eight duels during the 2016 election and helped Trump in his 2020 presidential debates.

So far, he has focused much of his firepower on Trump in what some rivals see largely as a kamikaze mission to prevent the former president from retaking the nomination. The debate offers Christie a chance to target those close to Trumpism, even if they oppose Trump. In recent days, he has indicated that attacks like this could be coming, especially against DeSantis and his claims that he is the best on the field.

"If you like Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola comes with New Coke and Coca-Cola is still available, buy Coca-Cola, because what do you need New Coke for?" he said at a recent meeting in the town hall in New Hampshire, arguing that Republicans want a more authentic alternative to Coke. Trump as DeSantis needed. "Ron DeSantis is the new Coca-Cola."

Will Scott continue to be a happy warrior?


The South Carolina senator has campaigned across the country with an optimistic, forward-thinking message that draws heavily on his compelling personal story. There are some signs that it is working: in recent weeks, the position in the polls has risen steadily.

But while Scott has gained ground, he remains in the single digits in most early state polls. The debate is a chance for him to recover. But will a positive message make its way into a debate that could easily lead to a referendum on Trump and the past election?

Will Haley make it?

Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and UN ambassador to the United Nations, ran ahead of all other candidates except Trump in February. she hascampaigned at breakneck speedthrough Iowa and New Hampshire. But so far he can show little of his efforts. His polls haven't changed much. And Scott, her rival in her home state, outvoted her by voting early in both states.

Haley has urged voters not to belittle her in not-so-subtle ways by appearing at the Iowa State Fair in a t-shirt that reads, "Underestimate me." It's going to be fun." Primary selectors, however, have shown little interest in the only woman in the Republican race.

Her advisers say she sees the debate as the start of the fall campaign season, when voters will begin to adjust to the primary. But can he get her to pay attention?

How will candidates from the lower ranks present themselves?


North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum did his best to qualify for the debate stage, at one point even offering $20 gift cards in exchange for a $1 donation. So far, the billionaire's former software executive in Iowa, however, did not cross the 3 percent mark. The problem, according to Burgum and his team, is largely well known. The debate offers Burgum his greatest – and possibly only – chance to put forward his point of view. "The most important thing was to have the debate," he said in a brief interview in Iowa.

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson faces a similar need to present herself to voters. He said the best advice he got for the big night was downright "Don't make it boring."

Burgum for his part puts little pressure on his performance on Wednesday evening. "We don't have to do home runs, grand slams or anything like that for us," he said. "We're just on stage with everyone else and we're ourselves."

Lisa LererHe is a national political correspondent covering campaigns, elections and political power. More about Lisa Lerer

Shane GoldmacherHe is a national political reporter and formerly served as chief correspondent for the Metro Bureau. Prior to joining The Times, she worked at Politico, covering national Republican politics and the 2016 presidential campaign. More about Shane Goldmacher

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Nine things that will shape the Republican Party during Wednesday's debate? ›

The positions of the Republican Party have evolved over time. Currently, the party's fiscal conservatism includes support for lower taxes, small government conservatism, free market capitalism, free trade, deregulation of corporations, and restrictions on labor unions.

What are the core beliefs of the Republican Party? ›

The positions of the Republican Party have evolved over time. Currently, the party's fiscal conservatism includes support for lower taxes, small government conservatism, free market capitalism, free trade, deregulation of corporations, and restrictions on labor unions.

Why was the Republican Party formed? ›

In 1854, the Republican Party emerged to combat the expansion of slavery into American territories after the passing of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. The early Republican Party consisted of northern Protestants, factory workers, professionals, businessmen, prosperous farmers, and after the Civil War, former black slaves.

Who founded the Republican Party? ›

What are the beliefs of the Republican Party quizlet? ›

What is their core belief? -favor smaller governments with less government-provided services and regulations, and that things are done better by individuals and businesses (private sector) not the government.

What were the 3 main stances ideas of the Democratic Republican Party? ›

The Democratic-Republican Party saw itself as a champion of republicanism and denounced the Federalists as supporters of monarchy and aristocracy. Ralph Brown writes that the party was marked by a "commitment to broad principles of personal liberty, social mobility, and westward expansion." Political scientist James A.

What was a reason for the rise of the Republican Party quizlet? ›

In 1854 the Republican party was formed when the Whig party split. Northern Whigs wanted to stop the spread of slavery to the western territories. The republican party also attracted Democrats and Free-Soil party members.

What was the main purpose of the creation of the Republican Party quizlet? ›

The Whig Party split in 1854 and many northern Whigs joined a new political party. It was called the Republican Party. 2. The main goal of the Republican party was to stop the spread of slavery into the western territories.

Which is the largest and strongest political party in the world? ›

Parties with over 50 million members
1Bharatiya Janata Party Indian People's PartyBJP
2Chinese Communist PartyCCP CPC

Was Abraham Lincoln a Republican or Democrat? ›

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States, beating Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell. He was the first president from the Republican Party.

Who was first Republican president? ›

In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election, but in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860. As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization.

What do Democrats believe in? ›

From workers' rights to protecting the environment, equal pay to fighting the special interests, Democrats believe we can and should make life better for families across our nation. fairness, justice, and equality for all by standing up for all middle-class Americans and those struggling to get there.

What are the beliefs of the Conservative party? ›

They typically believe in a balance between federal government and states' rights. Apart from some right-libertarians, American conservatives tend to favor strong action in areas they believe to be within government's legitimate jurisdiction, particularly national defense and law enforcement.

What do liberals believe in? ›

believing in equality and individual liberty. supporting private property and individual rights. supporting the idea of limited constitutional government. recognising the importance of related values such as pluralism, toleration, autonomy, bodily integrity, and consent.


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