December 6, 2023

In the event you skipped Wednesday’s Republican presidential major debate, we don’t blame you. 

The second debate featured seven candidates, who mixed, are trailing frontrunner Donald Trump by a whopping 17 factors within the polls, making it a little bit of an train in futility. 

Trump opted to skip the controversy and as a substitute communicate to non-union employees at a non-union enterprise in Michigan, whereas claiming he was visiting hanging autoworkers with the United Auto Employees (UAW) union.

Regardless of being the elephant within the room, Trump’s identify barely got here up as the controversy devolved right into a chaotic mess that included a two minute argument about curtains, a number of minutes of candidates yelling over one another, a candidate calling Donald Trump “Donald Duck,” and former Vice President Mike Pence ensuring People know that he has intercourse along with his spouse.

A minimum of one of many candidates who participated within the debate acknowledged what a catastrophe it was afterwards in an interview with Fox Information. 

“If I used to be at house watching that,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis mentioned, “I might have modified the channel.”

However even when the controversy is unlikely to have an effect on the result of the Republican major, it says a lot concerning the state of the get together. Listed below are the 4 of probably the most notable moments from the controversy:

1. Republicans Assault Academics and Public Colleges

For the second time in as many debates, the candidates on stage attacked academics, claiming that academics’ unions had been at fault for the problems in public faculties, reasonably than over a decade of elected officers underfunding them.

“This public college system is now not run by the general public. It’s run by the academics unions on this nation,” former New Jersey governor Chris Christie claimed, as he accused thousands and thousands of unionized academics of “strangling” public training. 

Christie’s assault then took an unsightly flip, as he attacked First Woman Jill Biden, a trainer, and appeared to recommend she was sleeping with the president in an effort to advocate for academics. 

“When you may have the president of the US sleeping with a member of the academics union, there is no such thing as a probability that you would take the stranglehold away,” Christie mentioned. “They’ve an advocate contained in the White Home every single day.”

That remark prompted Pence to later chime in, with a joke that fell flat.

“My spouse isn’t a member of the academics union, however I’ve acquired to confess, I’ve been sleeping with a trainer for 38 years,” he mentioned. 

Pence additionally reiterated his want to abolish the Division of Schooling, which different candidates have additionally endorsed. 

Polling suggests each of those stances are unpopular amongst most voters. A latest survey from Navigator discovered that 55% of People have a positive view of academics unions, in comparison with solely 25% who’ve an unfavorable view. One other ballot from Knowledge for Progress discovered that solely 24% of voters would assist shutting down the Division of Schooling, in comparison with 67% who would oppose it.

2. Republicans Inform Putting Employees They’re Picketing for the Unsuitable Factor

The controversy opened with candidates being requested to touch upon the continuing UAW strike, wherein greater than 18,000 employees and counting are on strike towards the Huge 3 automakers—Ford, Normal Motors, and Stellantis—in the hunt for higher wages, advantages, and retirement safety. 

Whereas President Biden visited the picket line in Michigan on Tuesday, the overwhelming majority of Republicans have declined to assist the strike. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who has mentioned he would hearth hanging federal employees if he had been elected president, declined to say throughout the debate if he stood with UAW employees.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley argued that Biden’s legislative insurance policies and inflation had been the rationale employees had been hanging, not the Huge 3’s refusal to make a good cope with their employees amid report company income.

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, in the meantime, tried to precise sympathy with UAW employees in a single second, after which mentioned they had been embracing “victimhood” within the subsequent and informed them to “go picket in entrance of the White Home in Washington, D.C.,” as a substitute of hanging towards the businesses that make use of them. 

Ramaswamy’s feedback struck an identical tone to what Trump mentioned throughout his go to to Michigan, as each candidates steered they knew higher than the employees themselves what they need to be on strike for. 

“Your present negotiations don’t imply as a lot as you suppose,” Trump informed non-union employees masquerading as union employees. “I watch you on the market with the pickets, however I don’t suppose you’re picketing for the precise factor.”

3. Medicare and Medicaid Had been Worse for Black Individuals Than Slavery, Apparently

In one of the crucial weird moments of the evening, Scott went from unequivocally stating that slavery was unhealthy for Black individuals to then suggesting it wasn’t as unhealthy as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Nice Society” agenda, which included the creation of Medicare and Medicaid and a serious improve in Social Safety advantages.

“Black households survived slavery! We survived ballot taxes and literacy assessments. We survived discrimination being woven into the legal guidelines of our nation,” Scott mentioned. “What was laborious to outlive was Johnson’s Nice Society, the place they determined to place cash—the place they determined to take the Black father out of the family to get a test within the mail and now you can measure that in unemployment and crime and devastation.”

Scott’s feedback echo years of Republican assaults on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Safety, however he wasn’t the one candidate to assault these kinds of social applications throughout the debate.

When confronted with a query about Florida’s excessive uninsured price, which is worse than the nationwide common, DeSantis mentioned it was as a result of Florida was a “dynamic state” with out many authorities advantages to assist assist individuals. 

DeSantis has notably refused to develop Medicaid below the Inexpensive Care Act, which might present protection to roughly 800,000 to 1.1 million Floridians, with the federal authorities bearing 90% of the price. 

Florida is one in all solely 10 states to refuse to develop Medicaid. 

4. Republicans Proceed to Assault Transgender Youngsters

In what was maybe the ugliest part of the controversy, a number of candidates went out of their option to assault transgender individuals, significantly youngsters. 

“Transgenderism, particularly in youngsters, is a psychological well being dysfunction,” Ramaswamy mentioned. “I’ll ban genital mutilation or chemical castration below the age of 18.”

Pence went one step additional, calling for a federal ban on gender-affirming care “anyplace within the nation,” with out specifying if he meant for minors or for all transgender individuals.

To be clear, being transgender just isn’t a psychological well being dysfunction and youngsters’s genitals aren’t being mutilated. Younger youngsters can’t bear operations to vary their gender, with nationally-recognized medical tips recommending sufferers be no less than 15 years previous to obtain any surgical procedures, and even then, solely in particular circumstances.

In different phrases, the overwhelming majority of gender-affirming surgical procedures happen amongst adults, and within the uncommon circumstances they occur in teenagers, they nearly at all times happen after many discussions with mother and father, psychological well being suppliers, and physicians.

Regardless of all this, Republicans and right-wing activists have ruthlessly focused the transgender group for political achieve, introducing greater than 500 payments throughout the nation this yr particularly concentrating on trans individuals, in keeping with the Trans Laws Tracker

Whereas the electoral impression of these efforts has an extremely poor observe report, they’ve continued to focus on transgender youngsters and ban gender-affirming take care of minors.

This Is Trump’s Race to Lose and No One’s Coming Near Him

In the end, the controversy is unlikely to matter in any respect by way of the first race.

Regardless of his 91 felony fees, prior efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and incitement of the Jan. 6 revolt on the US Capitol, Donald Trump is working away with the Republican nomination for president.

Wednesday’s debate didn’t change something concerning the dynamics of the race, and it’s more and more unlikely something will. That is Trump’s Republican Celebration.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He beforehand labored as a researcher within the movie trade and dabbled within the political world.