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As Presidential Debates begin, new names make themselves heard

On Aug. 23, the Republican primaries met for the first presidential debate. The event gave viewers a chance to see who could run against President Joe Biden in the nearing 2024 Presidential Election. Leading up to the presidential primaries, the Grand Old Party (GOP), will host a series of debates to unveil potential contenders representing the Republican Party in the upcoming presidential candidacy.

The Republican Party presidential candidates (left to right): Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Doug Burgum, Tim Scott, Asa Hutchinson, Chris Christie

The two-hour affair consisted of persistent efforts from the eight new candidates, while some faces gained recognition and spotlight in the voluntary absence of candidate and former President Donald Trump. Some of the favored candidates on-stage consisted of Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie. Nikki Haley, a former Governor of South Carolina, is the sole woman in the debates. Mike Pence is widely known for working as vice president under Donald Trump. Ron DeSantis serves as the current Governor of Florida. Chris Christie served as the Governor of New Jersey until 2018.

One of the new names garnering attention online from the debate is the youthful Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy procures a charismatic and confident personality, which often irritated his fellow candidates.

Vivek Ramaswamy defends his remarks at the stand during the primary debates

During one of Ramaswamy’s responses, candidate Chris Christie made his opinions clear. 

“[We have] had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT,” Christie said.

Although Ramaswamy has many controversial opinions, including strictly securing the borders and climate change being a hoax, his tactics are successfully growing his name nationally. Social issues and history teacher, Nickolai Butkevich, shared his thoughts on Ramaswamy’s strategy and charisma.

“He’s one of those people that is a very articulate speaker. He is a great example of that if someone sounds smart, [they] might be able to pass themselves off as someone that knows what they’re talking about. But, it is really clear that sometimes he just doesn’t,” Butkevich said. 

Donald Trump opted to skip the primary debates, but still holds a very commanding lead in the polls — 42 percent higher than second place. Yet, Ramaswamy, and almost every other candidate, stand by Trump’s side even amidst their competition with him. When the moderator asked the candidates if they would still support Trump if convicted, only Asa Hutchinson and Christie said they would not. Despite recent controversy, Butkevich commented on Trump’s wise decision to pass on the debates. 

“The fact that the gap between him and second place increased since the debate, I think [that], for his own interest, it is very smart; if he is up there on the stage he might get a question that could trip him up and alienate the [voters] he needs to win,” Butkevich said.

Current Republican Party candidate poll leaders

After the first Republican Debate, many popular opinions and speculations formed. For junior Eric Mittelman, the debate does not hold much of a meaning given current polls. 

“Honestly, I don’t think that whatever happened during [the debate] will end up mattering too much. No matter what [the candidates] say during the event, it seems pretty clear that Trump will end up being the representative for the Republicans,” Mittelman said.

Hutchinson is the only candidate who does not qualify for the second debate; the rest of the contenders will return. Among those who qualified, Donald Trump is continuing his absence while holding onto his sturdy lead. The next Republican Debate is on Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. EST. During this event, the remaining candidates will try to solidify themselves as the next possible presidential representative.

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About the Contributor
Zach Dinowitz, Reporter
Zach is a junior at Redwood High School and is a Reporter for the Bark. He enjoys sports and hanging out with his friends.