Four of the seven candidates who will appear in the second Simi Valley Republican debate. Starting top left: Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis.BRIAN SNYDER (REUTERS)
With four charges in tow and a historical police record, Donald Trump has only lengthened his distance towards the Republican nomination in 2024. The controversial former president plans to skip again the second debate between the candidates for the nomination, which will take place on Wednesday afternoon at the Ronald Regan Library in California. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is a distant second in the polls, will try to stem his slide in a scenario that remains crowded with seven politicians struggling to subtract some of the more than 40 points that Trump leads.
This afternoon's meeting, 18.00 of the American Pacific, has lost a candidate. Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, who was at the August debate in Milwaukee, did not meet the necessary requirements to repeat. The party's national committee raised the barrier in an effort to reduce the number of contenders. To appear on stage in Simi Valley, a city 65 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles, you need to have at least 3% in two national surveys and have received money from 50,000 donors spread across at least 20 states.
Donald Trump far exceeds these two conditions, but has refused to endorse the third: that the losing candidates endorse the winner of the primaries. For this reason, the former president does not appear as a guest of the organization. Nor does it need to. The former president dominates his rivals with such ease that in the polls among local Republicans he exceeds 50% of the preferences. The campaigns of his closest rivals have preferred to invest in other states where competition is closer. Trump will visit the city of Anaheim, southeast of Los Angeles, on Friday for a fundraiser.
Those who have passed customs to be on stage this Wednesday are former Vice President Mike Pence; Governor DeSantis; Trump's former ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who stole the spotlight from the Florida president and became the main figure in the first debate.
The meeting in California will be a new opportunity for politicians to cut distances with Trump. Instead of making a shadow round with his opponents, the former president will be in Detroit with striking auto workers. In the first debate, the former president was, on average, about 35 points ahead of DeSantis. The margin has grown to 40. In the NBC poll, the governor of Florida has lost six points in three months (16% in September), while Nikki Haley has gone from 4% to 7% in the same period. A poll last week by Fox Business, the organizers of the debate, put Trump at 46 percent, De Santis at 15 percent; Haley with 11% and Ramaswamy with 7%. The Washington Post and ABC put the 38-year-old Indian-born businessman at just 3%.
Haley, the only woman in the competition, arrives in California reinforced. The former South Carolina governor has rebounded in the Democratic Polls among conservative voters. He also came out well after the Milwaukee game, where he even quoted Margaret Thatcher. His team said that in the three days after the first debate his campaign raised a million dollars, a milestone on his way to the primaries.
The Fox and Univision television networks are the organizers. The debate will be broadcast exclusively in streaming by Rumble, a controversial social network linked to the radical right. Some have criticized that the party's national committee has chosen this platform as the speaker of the event. Party leaders bet on the company in an effort to move away from Big Tech, which is the target of party attacks. Rumble, founded in 2013, has been embroiled in scandals because its lax moderation policy allows the publication of extremist, racist or conspiracy theory videos linked to QAnon.
The economy will be the main theme, according to organizers. Politicians will debate against the backdrop of the Detroit labor conflict. The campaign teams of the seven attendees, however, take it for granted that the guide is just a formality. There will be room to jump to other concerns among conservative voters in hopes of converting Trumpists to the cause. The loot is very high. California represents 169 delegates in the Republican primary on March 5, 2024, known as Super Tuesday. One of the issues that is expected to come up is border control. August recorded the highest number of illegal crossings by families in the last four years, a figure that will give ammunition to the handful of aspirants who have called for militarizing the territory that borders Mexico and even decreeing the use of force to diminish the power of drug cartels.
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