By Sam Shikora (Politcal Editor).
As primaries approach in the coming months, Republicans are scrambling to elevate themselves over the numerous other candidates.
On Tuesday, December 15th, at 8:30 pm, nine Republican presidential candidates squared off in the last debate of 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer was the moderator of this debate.
The main theme of the debate was national security, as a result of the recent ISIS-orchestrated attacks in both Paris and San Bernardino. In memory of the victims of the recent San Bernardino Shooting, Dr. Ben Carson began his opening statement by requesting a moment of silence.
The topics discussed in the debate included ISIS, the Middle East, border security and illegal immigration, the Iran deal, and individual privacy. Economic and social issues were not included in this debate.
Many candidates attacked President Obama and Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and to a lesser extent, Bernie Sanders.
The debate took a turn for the worse as candidates Jeb Bush and Donald J. Trump got into a rather heated debate about the veracity of statements they had said in the past.
Bush said, “Donald is great at the ‘one-liners’. But he’s a chaos-candidate. And he’d be a chaos president.”
Trump responded quickly and with an iron fist. “He [Jeb] has failed in his campaign. It’s been a total disaster. Nobody cares, and frankly I’m the most solid person up here.”
Citing his campaign slogan, Trump added, “all I want to do is make America great again.” Bush responded by saying, “you’re never going to be president of the United States by insulting your way.”
In addition, candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz argued about their positions regarding military funding.
An animosity between Trump and candidate Ted Cruz was evident, as tensions between Trump and Bush were running high. This came just a month after Trump named Cruz as a potential running mate.
Although it was a highly contested debate, Vox writer Dylan Matthews said that there were some clear losers and winners.
While Donald Trump didn’t say much of substance, Matthews says that his prevailing victory in his arguments with both Bush and Rand Paul made them look “pathetic and small”.
Matthews also says that Cruz was a definite winner, due to him beating Marco Rubio in the debate about immigration. Matthews said, “what mattered is that Rubio gave Cruz a big chunk of the debate in which to remind base voters of the one issue where they don’t trust Rubio at all, and to remind them that Cruz was on their side when it counted.”
Some argue that Rubio won, because he seemed composed throughout. Rubio stayed within the allotted time and was relatively respectful of other candidates.
Rubio and Carson were just 4% behind Cruz, who is in second place in the polls, according to RealClear Politics, prior to the debate. In addition, Trump was in first with 33%. Behind Rubio and Carson were Bush and Christie, respectively. John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, and Rand Paul were trailing Christie, with a touch above 2% in the polls each.