Delegate-rich winner takes all states approaching primary dates. A feisty debate on the national stage just one week earlier. 2012 Presidental candidate Mitt Romney giving a speech lambasting the current GOP front-runner and telling Americans to support anyone but Donald Trump. With all this turmoil and the Republican party being on the verge of what many consider a civil war, Thursday night’s Fox News debate in Detroit, Michigan was not only crucial but also predictably tumultuous as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich squared off against front-runner Donald Trump.
The debate had a rocky start when Marco Rubio and Donald Trump got into a screaming match, talking incoherently over each other. The conversation took a bizarre twist when Trump finished off by referencing a comment Rubio made about him having small hands by saying “my hands are not small and there’s something else of mine that’s not small either.” The Florida Senator and the New York Businessman traded barbs throughout the night over immigration, the economy and a legal case against a university started by Trump.
Trump stuck to his guns largely on pledges to build a wall on the Mexican border and defeat ISIS while Rubio warned voters not to fall victim to the promises of a “con-artist” who he asserted has been lying about his many campaign pledges. Through all this, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, second place to Trump in delegate count, tried to avoided the direct quarreling but did point out Trump’s multiple political donations to Hillary Clinton. Cruz also offered substantive policy positions of his including passing a flat tax and limiting the size of the Federal government. Ohio Governor John Kasich continued his typical “nice guy” style of debating by voicing his experience as a chief executive and history of balancing budgets.
Although the debate was considerably more civil than the previous one, the state of the Republican primary and the party as a whole is clearly in disarray. The party of Lincoln is quickly becoming the Party of Trump, a brash populist whom many in the party adore but an equal amount seem to loathe. Trump seemed to take a lot of flak in Thursday’s debate, but it is doubtful it will have a large negative impact on his performance at the polls. Regardless of the political ramifications, the Fox debate produced another enjoyable episode of the growingly popular reality show that is the 2016 presidential election.