As the Iowa caucuses draw near, the Republican presidential field is beginning to thin out. With only two months until the caucuses, the once-crowded primary debate stage will feature just five candidates when they gather in Miami for the third debate. Former President Donald Trump, though absent, will be rallying supporters nearby. The five candidates on stage – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and tech entrepreneur Ramaswamy – have all met the qualifications set by the Republican National Committee.
With fewer candidates, this debate has the potential to be more substantive than the previous ones. However, the remaining candidates may become more desperate to change the trajectory of the Republican primary campaign. DeSantis and Haley, seen as the strongest alternatives to Trump, are expected to clash. The two have engaged in a war of words, with campaign memos questioning each other’s credibility. Additionally, the Israel-Hamas war is likely to be a prominent topic, as the Republican Jewish Coalition is co-hosting the debate to appeal to pro-Israel voters.
Here are five things to watch for during the third Republican presidential debate:
1. The absence of Donald Trump: Despite ongoing accusations and requests for cancellation, Trump will not be present at the debate. This presents an opportunity for the other candidates to address his front-runner status.
2. Haley vs. DeSantis: Haley and DeSantis are competing to be the most appealing alternative to Trump. Polls show that Haley is leading in South Carolina, while DeSantis has secured endorsements and argues that he is the sole alternative. Their feud is likely to play out on the debate stage.
3. Divide over Israel and Gaza: While the Republican candidates largely support Israel, there are differences in their approaches. DeSantis takes a harder line, while Haley emphasizes the need to separate civilians from terrorists. Ramaswamy suggests phasing out aid to Israel as part of his foreign policy.
4. The candidates’ sense of urgency: With the Iowa caucuses approaching, the candidates are running out of time to make an impact. This may lead to more intense and desperate exchanges on the debate stage.
5. The impact of the debate on Iowa voters: Iowa voters are known for making late decisions, providing an opportunity for the candidates to make a lasting impression. Polling has shown Trump in the lead, but there is still time for the remaining candidates to change the narrative.
Ultimately, as the Republican presidential field narrows, the third debate holds significant importance for the candidates. It will be a chance for them to differentiate themselves, address key issues, and potentially change the course of the primary campaign.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who will be participating in the third Republican presidential debate?
A: The five candidates participating in the debate are Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Tim Scott, and Ramaswamy.
Q: Why won’t Donald Trump be at the debate?
A: Donald Trump has chosen not to attend the debate, despite accusations of wearing hidden heels and calls for the cancellation of the remaining debates.
Q: What are the main topics expected to be discussed during the debate?
A: The debate is likely to focus on issues such as the candidates’ positions on Israel and Gaza, as well as their strategies for standing out in the Republican primary campaign.
Q: How might the debate impact Iowa voters?
A: Iowa voters have a reputation for making late decisions, giving the candidates on stage an opportunity to make a lasting impression and potentially shift the race’s dynamics.
Q: How is this debate different from the previous ones?
A: This debate features a smaller number of candidates, which could result in a more substantive discussion. However, the remaining candidates may also become more desperate to gain momentum.