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Third Republican Debate: What Happened?

Joanne Hamilton

Wednesday 9th November marked the third Republican debate, between five candidates: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

The 2-hour debate began at 20:00 Eastern (01:00 Thursday GMT), and took place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. It was broadcast live on television by NBC.

All qualifying candidates, as listed above, required at least 4% support in 2 national polls, or 4% in 1 national poll and 2 polls from 4 of the early nominating states: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Mr Donald Trump is the current front-runner […] and has not attended any of the past debates

Beyond this, they were required to have 70,000 individual campaign donors situated around the USA, and to sign a pledge in support of the Republican presidential nominee.

Mr Donald Trump is the current front-runner for the race to Republican presidency and has not attended any of the past debates. Instead, on Wednesday, he orchestrated a rally at a football stadium nearby.

Key political issues debated included: Abortion, Donald Trump, Ukraine, and a centred discussion on the war in the Middle East.

The candidates points on Donald Trump’s choice to run were limited, with Haley focusing on the need to move forward: ‘’We can’t live in the past. We can’t live in other headlines. We’ve got to start focusing on what’s gonna make America strong and proud.’’ and Christie commenting on Trump’s legal issues: ‘’Anybody who’s gonna be spending the next year and a half of their life focusing on keeping themselves out of jail and courtrooms cannot lead this party or this country, It needs to be said plainly.’’

“I don’t judge anyone for being pro-choice and I don’t want them to judge me for being pro-life” [Haley]

The candidates’ conversations on abortion came at a later point in the debate, and were kept to a minimum given that a recent poll found that most Americans support abortion, posing issues for the Republican party.

Haley called for a consensus stating that ‘’We don’t need to divide America over this issue anymore.’’, reiterating her position as pro-life while stating ‘’I don’t judge anyone for being pro-choice and I don’t want them to judge me for being pro-life.’’

Senator Tim Scott, however, took a more divisive approach on abortion rights, pushing his rivals to support a fifteen-week abortion ban: ‘’I would challenge both Nikki and Ron to join me at a fifteen-week abortion ban. It is in our nation’s best interest.’’

“America is here. No matter what you need […] to preserve the state of Israel” [Christie]

All candidates united on the situation in the Middle East, showing support for the USA’s long-term ally Israel, with virtually no reference to the Palestinian civilians killed on the Gaza strip.

Ron DeSantis spoke most passionately on the subject stating ‘’Finish the job, once and for all, with these butcher’s Hamas.’’, with Chris Christie seemingly agreeing with the sentiment: ‘’America is here. No matter what you need, at any time, to preserve the state of Israel.’’

Both Scott and Haley blamed Iran for the actions of Hamas, with Nikki Haley cementing that ‘’We need to be very clear eyed to know that there would be no Hamas without Iran.’’ and Tim Scott arguing ‘’You actually have to cut off the head of the snake, and the head of the snake is Iran.’’

Except for DeSantis, who sparsely commented on the situation in Ukraine, and Ramaswamy, who stood vehemently against, the candidates largely stood for the support of the state.

The first time the candidates have gathered since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out

Chris Christie compared the situation to America’s involvement in World War 2: ‘’Let’s remember the last time that we turned our back on a shooting war in Europe. It bought us just a couple of years. And then 500,000 Americans were killed to defeat Hitler. This is not a choice.’’

As noted by Associated Press News, the focus on foreign policy comes with the fact that this was the first time the candidates have gathered since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out.

All candidate quotes were taken from the CNN coverage of the event, for which a highlight reel can be found here.

Joanne Hamilton

Featured image courtesy of Tabrez Syed via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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