OPINION: Republican debate preview – round three

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Another Republican debate of this election cycle will be taking place Wednesday night, the third of 11 so-far scheduled.

Debate logistics and focus

The debate will start at 7 p.m. on CNBC, and after Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson pressured the network to change the debate format (even threatening to boycott), it will now only last two hours and will include opening and closing statements, which were not originally included in the schedule.

CNBC has said that the focus of the night will be “debating the key issues that matter to all voters — job growth, taxes, technology, retirement and the health of our national economy.”

Candidates

Save for Gov. Scott Walker, who dropped out since the second debate, the candidates on stage will be the same: Trump, Carson, former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. John Kasich. Let’s check on a few of them leading into the debate.

Trump and Carson are going to share the two center spots (there are an even number of candidates) on tomorrow’s debate stage, and the two are sharing the top two spots in the polls as well. Carson has even managed to pass Trump in some recent Iowa polling, much to the chagrin of the frontrunner. Trump is still leading nationally, and sometimes by significant margins, but Carson is certainly making up ground.

Meanwhile, the former frontrunner, Jeb Bush, has fallen to consistent single digits in the polls and is now calling in his family to help rejuvenate his staggering campaign. In his Monday Politico article, “Bush family gathers to rescue Jeb,” Eli Stokols described George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush as coming out to help a campaign that is “gasping for air, slashing costs and narrowing a national strategy to a New Hampshire approach, (all while) investor confidence is cracking.”

Can this debate help Jeb Bush recapture some much-needed energy for his very financially supported campaign?

And what about his Florida counterpart, Rubio?

Rubio has widely been seen as having had two strong debates, and he has moved up enough to stand to the right of Trump tomorrow night. While I agree with my colleague Brent Kennedy that Rubio would be the best bet for a GOP 2016 win, there are definite problems with his infrastructure. In Politico’s article “Marco Rubio’s wake-up call,” deep concerns were revealed that he “isn’t raising enough money and hasn’t yet built much of a field organization.”

Can his debate performance tomorrow continue to sustain him until he finds a way to financial support and better organization?

While important for everyone of course, this is especially a crucial debate for both Fiorina and Paul. According to an article by The Hill, “Fiorina needs next debate to reignite her campaign,” the former CEO keeps feeling debate bumps that are promptly not sustained, and needs to stay afloat yet again.

Meanwhile, Paul is close to fading and is being pressured by Republican and Senate establishments, including his friend and ally Mitch McConnell, to focus instead on his upcoming Senate seat election rather than his long-shot presidency bid, detailed by Salon’s political writer, Simon Maloy.

With so many campaigns awaiting the crucial impact of Wednesday night’s debate, with some even on the precipice of falling into irrelevance, and only two hours to work with between the ten candidates… More than anything we should expect some fire.

If you can pull yourself away from the World Series, you might be able to catch some of the fun. And with the discussion focusing on “Your Money,” there should be some pretty revealing policy too.

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Jonathan Greig
Hi, I’m Jonathan. I graduate this December, majoring in Anthropology, with minors in Creative Writing and Political Science. After that … we’ll see. Maybe graduate school in environmental anthropology. Maybe I’ll finally pursue my old childhood dream of becoming an infomercial host. It’s up in the air. Some of my interests and hobbies include devout sports fanaticism, religious study, and composing country songs that serve to explain the unearthly amount of disdain I have for country music. My band’s called Catfish Hurricane, you should check us out. Well, actually, you shouldn’t. I love writing, which is how I accidentally stumbled into this job. This stumbling into good things is my plan for life in general.