The 6 big issues in Wednesday’s Republican debate

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

GOP Debate: Iowa surge puts Carson in the spotlight, as Trump and Bush seek to stabilize.

While women outnumber men in the U.S., less than a third of political donors are female, according to an analysis of donor data by Crowdpac, a start-up that tracks donations.

WASHINGTON: The Republican candidates for president will gather Wednesday for their third debate amid fresh volatility in an already chaotic race, with Ben Carson surging past Donald Trump in Iowa and one-time front-runner Jeb Bush under pressure to prove he’s still a viable candidate for the party’s nomination.Ben Carson, the soft-spoken former neurosurgeon, has for the first time knocked repellent loudmouth Donald Trump out of the top spot in the Republican nomination race. — Ben Carson enters Wednesday night’s third GOP presidential debate with a surge of momentum, ensuring the soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon will face heightened attention from rivals in need of a breakout moment three months before primary voting begins.

The soft-spoken Carson has been a low-key presence in the first two Republican debates, but the retired neurosurgeon is likely to get more attention from moderators — as well as his fellow candidates — after a series of preference polls show him atop the field in Iowa. According to a poll released by CBS News/New York Times on Tuesday, Carson, now at 26 per cent, is four points ahead of Trump at 22 per cent, while the other GOP presidential hopefuls languish in the single digits. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Hillary Clinton receives a little over half of her donations from women (50.2%, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a research group tracking money in politics).

Trump, a billionaire businessman and reality TV star, has already shown he’s eager to take on Carson, jabbing him for his speaking style and raising questions about his Seventh Day Adventist faith. Trump had been leading the pack for a good number of months: time he has used to spew nonsense about building a wall along the Mexican border and amending the Constitution to facilitate a massive deportation of millions of illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, Bush, the brother and son of two former presidents, will be grasping for momentum after one of the most trying stretches of his White House campaign. Mother Jones looked at the gender breakdown of the GOP donors using the Center’s data (which includes those who donated $200 or more) and came to a not-so-shocking conclusion: Donald Trump comes in dead last.

Slower-than-expected fundraising has led Bush to slash spending and overhaul his campaign structure, and he’s voiced frustration with the way the unusual race has progressed. Carson’s appeal is obvious: he grew up poor in a single-parent household from the age of eight, raised by a mother with only a third grade education. Trump, who received the least contributions of any candidate by far, also had the smallest percentage of contribution from female donors, at just 18%. But his slip in Iowa has prompted some speculation among Republicans that the tide could be turning against the bombastic real estate mogul, and a weak performance Wednesday could reinforce that view.

There will be 10 candidates on stage in the prime-time debate in Boulder, Colorado, all seeking a share of a smaller spotlight: this debate on CNBC will run for only two hours after the last affair went on for more than three. Carson then starting writing weekly columns for the Washington Times and giving regular speeches, including one at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013, where he ripped into President Barack Obama who was sitting mere feet away.

Apparently, female donors aren’t quick to forget Trump’s history of insults to women, which have included words like “pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,” to quote Fox new anchor Megyn Kelly. He has since earned the reputation as a sharp, straight-talking conservative commentator, while still looking as if he’s popped two Xanax each time he steps up to the mic. The political rookies appealing to voter anger with Washington have ceded no ground, and establishment politicians are still waiting for the race to turn their way — and increasingly wondering if it ever will.

Carson partially conceded to Trump’s anti-vaccination garbage in a GOP debate in September, saying that we ought to spread out children’s vaccine schedules But style, needless to say, is not equal to substance. Indeed, Carson’s soft-spoken hypocrisy echoes loudest when he pontificates about science: he’s a medical doctor, after all, who in 2012, said that Darwin came up with the theory of evolution because he was encouraged by the devil. His fundraising lags behind that of his rivals; in the last quarter, he raised $5.7 million, compared to $20.8 million for Ben Carson, $13.4 million for Bush, and $12.2 million for Cruz.

Carson has also attacked Planned Parenthood for donating aborted fetal tissue for medical research, though he himself conducted research on aborted fetuses for a paper published in 1992. His campaign has started running new television advertisements in early voting states that center on his experience as a doctor and highlight his status as a political outsider. It’s not just Carson’s unabashed duplicity when it comes to matters of science, but also his shattering deafness in the face of a wide variety of social and political issues. Carson has raised eyebrows with his incendiary comments about Muslims and references to Nazis and slavery on the campaign trail, rhetoric he’s made no apologies for.

He said that if Jews had guns they might have prevented the Holocaust, which is both mind-bogglingly one-dimensional and historically meaningless, especially as a contemporary argument against gun control. But his challenge Wednesday is less about highlighting his mastery of the issues and more about showing his supporters he has the temperament to fight through a long and grueling primary.

He has argued that he would cut off federal funding to universities housing “extreme political bias,” declining to elaborate on how the government would monitor and/or identify “extreme bias,” or how his plan doesn’t constitute a gross violation of free speech, and he compared abortion to slavery in arguing that it should be made illegal in all cases, including rape. The downside, as one GOP source explained to Politico, is that this is an “unpredictable and risky bet that traditional campaign organizing doesn’t matter.” If it doesn’t pay off, the junior senator from Florida is finished.

And still, one of his most stunning responses came when he was asked if he was planning to meet the families of the victims of the recent mass shooting in Oregon; Carson replied that he was very busy but that he probably “would go to the next one.” At a certain point, gaffes are less “mistakes” than they are evidence. On foreign policy, he’s said, “all options should remain on the table when dealing with international bullies,” such as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush’s team has knocked Rubio as a “GOP Obama,” but that’s a compliment—Barack Obama won a tough primary and two presidential elections with a majority of the vote—as much as an attack on his youth and inexperience. Indeed, when the room is quiet enough to hear what Ben Carson is actually saying, it becomes obvious that his ideas are just as logically inconsistent, logistically infeasible and occasionally, as grossly moronic as those of Donald Trump.

Senate), anti-establishment bona fides (the 2013 government shutdown), and real inroads with the religious right (he announced at the evangelical Liberty University in Virginia and is holding a rally at Bob Jones University in South Carolina), he’s poised to inherit Trump and Carson voters if either candidate leaves the race.

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