- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 30 September 2015
- Written by BRENDAN GREVE | POLITICS EDITOR
University students gathered at the GOP Debate viewing party in Wilson Hall last week to watch the pack of presidential hopefuls battle for their shot at winning the nomination for the Republican Party.
The viewing party was organized by first year instructor of political science at Monmouth University, Cathy Bartch. Dr. Joseph Patten, Chair of the Political Science Department said, “I would like to give thanks to Professor Cathy Bartch for organizing the event. It is her first year here and she is already making a big splash.” Dr. Stephen Chapman, assistant professor of political science said, “I thought it was great to see that many students attending the event this early in the process. It was impressive.”
According to the Huffington Post, the debate which was aired on CNN attracted an estimated 22.6 million viewers which made it the most viewed program in CNN’s 35 year history. Patten said, “A lot of those rating are because people want to see Donald Trump. He brings a celebrity factor to it” Chapman said, “I think CNN was really motivated by ratings. You could see it in the debate.”
The debate which was moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bash from CNN, and Conservative Radio Host, Hugh Hewitt, consisted of many questions that encouraged the candidates to clash with each other. A senior political science student, Tyler Vandegrift, said, “The CNN debate was less about getting candidate’s names out there than the Fox debate, but instead they chose to focus on personal attacks and Donald Trump. It is nice, however, that some of the better candidates are getting the attention they deserve.” Most notable were the clashes between Donald Trump and numerous other candidates like Carly Florina and Jeb Bush.
Donald Trump did not hold back in the debate. He started out the evening by criticizing candidate Rand Paul by saying, “Rand Paul should not even be on this stage.” He also was confronted about accusing Jeb Bush for being sympathetic towards illegal immigrants because his wife is of Mexican decent. Mr. Bush responded by urging Mr. Trump to apologize to his wife but he responded, “I’m not going to apologize because I haven’t done anything wrong.” Lastly, Trump was called out for criticizing Carly Florina’s appearance. He deflected the attention by claiming he was talking about her persona in general but she responded by saying, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” Dr. Chapman said, “Anything that sways away from the issues helps Donald Trump. This really hurts candidates that have issues to talk about.”
Although Donald Trump still holds the lead, the candidate that has gained the most popularity from the debate is the former Hewlett- Packard CEO, Carly Florina. Dr. Chapman said, “There wasn’t a clear winner but Carly Florina made the biggest splash.” Dr. Patten said, “The biggest winner indicated by recent public opinion polls is Carly Florina. Debates seem to be helping her more than most candidates.” Florina has worked her way up from the junior varsity debate to the main stage debate this time around. Her debate performance has given her a major boost in the polls. Earlier this month, Florina held sixth place with only four percent of the vote in a national poll conducted by the Monmouth Polling Institute. According to a recent CNN poll, it shows Florina surging into second place with fifteen percent.
Other establishment candidates such as Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Chris Christie are still trying to establish themselves as an alternative to the non-establishment candidates such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Florina– who are currently the top three in the CNN poll. Dr. Patten said, “John Kasich is the candidate democrats will fear the most.” However, his more liberal tendencies have not resonated with the Republican base so far. Tyler Vandegrift said, “I think Rubio would be a good establishment candidate.” Jeb Bush has been slow and steady so far but he has been forced out of his comfort zone by Donald Trump. The GOP field is subject to change in the distant future. Candidate Scott Walker has become the second candidate to the drop out on Monday. Dr. Chapman said, “I would think that a significant amount of candidates will drop off before Iowa.”
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