There seems to be a lot more tension than usual at the fifth Republican Presidential Debate, which took place on Tuesday, December 15, 2015.
Considering it was the last debate before the voting year, it seemed likely that the nine candidates would be more focused on the actual issues of the nation. Instead, half of them just attacked each other and avoided the questions being thrown their way. It was obvious who had won in this debate and who had lost.
The CNN debate was the first since the terror attacks on Paris and San Bernardino, California, both of which led to the FBI director claiming that the United States faces its greatest terror threat since the events on September 11, 2001. This resulted in the debate’s main focus on Tuesday being on keeping America safe.
The candidates – Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz – lined up on stage to address such issues as border control, terrorism, technology, foreign policy, and tactics and strategies to keep America safe. They answered questions from moderator Wolf Blitzer, as well as Facebook users.
You could cut the tension with a knife even before the debates actually began. As each candidate was announced, the other candidates applauded, except for when crowd-favorite Trump came out. As the line up began questioning, there were many low blows and much bickering, especially between Rubio, Paul, and Cruz. Bush even took on Trump head-to-head and did not seem to back down throughout his argument.
Jeb Bush: For the first time, Bush brought fight and initiative to the table. He repeatedly attacked Trump’s “non-serious” tactics for presidency and did not back down when all of Trump’s comebacks were just insults about his poll numbers and intelligence, saying, “You’re not going to be able to insult yourself into presidency.”
There were low expectations for the former Florida Governor, with his polls at about 3 percent, but he seemed to prove everyone wrong with his strong arguments and especially with his proposals to end terrorism in the United States.
“[Bush’s] claim that we need to band together with Muslims to destroy ISIS instead of isolating their rights like Trump wants proves that he is not a spitting image of his brother and really has the potential to be a great president,” says senior Francesca Feretich.
Marco Rubio: The Florida Senator, although sometimes getting derailed from his ideas when being attacked by his competitors, showed strong suits in his understanding of foreign policy. He focused on what was important and getting his ideals out to the world, instead of fighting those who criticized him.
Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor showcased a rise in appreciation when he referred to his experience in the executive office and his cases against terrorism during 9/11. He claimed that America needed a President that “knew what he was doing” and said that the rest of the candidates on stage were “people who have never had to make a consequential decision in an executive position.”
Carly Fiorina: Fiorina’s opening in the debate made it seem as though this would be her strongest performance ever. She mentioned the sacrifices and hardships she faced in her life, even mentioning the extreme sexism she faced on the road to her success. Her strongest point in the debate was when she spoke about her experience with Silicon Valley and how she would use her experience to help gain greater intelligence on ISIS.
Donald Trump: Those famous facial expressions whenever someone criticizes his radical ideas are forever stamped into everyone’s mind after this debate. Trump seemed extremely defensive throughout this debate, and when it came time to answer the real questions, he used this time to attack his opponents in the most childish form, saying mainly that most of them did not have the intelligence or initiative to be the President of the United States. Trump mentioned in his opening statement that “people like what I say. People respect what I say…” Although that may be true, how long will it be before they realize he is just repeating himself?
Trump also stands by what he said earlier – that he would like to kill the families of ISIS members, which actually earned a long booing from the audience at the debate. Opponent Jeb Bush questioned, “How does that make us any better than ISIS?”
“Trump’s whole role in the GOP is a joke. And this debate just proves it,” says junior Rose Schaffer.
Ted Cruz: Cruz did not give his viewers or supporters any memorable moments or objections throughout the entire debate, besides attacking Rubio and Paul. He avoids taking risks and always plays it safe, but that strategy is not working for him.
Ben Carson: In every debate, his only complaint is not about a candidate’s ideas or about President Obama’s decisions for our country like every other candidate’s, but about the fact that he never gets any questions. When he does get questions, he avoids the topic or just tries to be like Trump, and neither is working. Besides complaining, Carson mentioned when questioned if he could make the difficult decisions the president has to make that Carson would have no problem bombing Syria, even if it meant killing innocent men, women, and children.
Rand Paul: Paul began his opening statement challenging Trump and Rubio instead of using the time to introduce what he can bring to the table as president. No one cared enough to fight back against him, even Trump, who attacked everyone else on stage. Paul’s overwhelming ideals of foreign policy are what shut him down and made him a loser of this debate.
John Kasich: Kasich did not offer anything that really sealed the deal for his candidacy. He repeated himself a ton and tried to make it seem as though his opponents were not as serious as he was, but he failed to showcase how he was more efficient than the others.
The final Republican debate of 2015 has come to an end and it was the last chance the GOP candidates had to prove their worthiness before polls start to come out. Let us hope that some of the candidates get a grip on realty before they face the consequences.
Who do you think was the real winner of this debate?