What happened: Vivek Ramaswamy was the center of attention at last night's GOP presidential primary debate, while Ron DeSantis was timid, neocons Nikki Haley and Mike Pence played the part, and other candidates didn't stand out.
Why it matters: Ahead of the debate, former President Donald Trump was the most popular candidate among voters, polling higher than all other candidates combined. So candidates at the debate focused more on gaining the support of donors, rather than voters, that can help them gain traction against the former president.
- DeSantis: Polling in second place, the Florida governor had the most to lose in attending the debate. And it showed. DeSantis strained as he tried to appeal to the donor class, avoiding a hard-line stance on the Ukraine war, staying quiet for long periods, and forcing smiles. (The donor class loathes nonconventional foreign policy.)
- Ramaswamy, 38, on the other hand, is not funded by a super PAC and held most of the attention throughout the debate with his bold stances: He would cut funding to Ukraine, claimed the “climate change agenda” is a hoax, and said every other candidate on the stage was a “super PAC puppet.”
Questions: There was little discussion on immigration, censorship, election integrity, vaccine mandates, and the weaponization of the federal government.
- The network: Matt Peterson, editor in chief of TheBlaze, tells Upward News that Fox is “apparently incapable of asking questions actually representing the views of the majority of Republican voters who support Donald Trump.” TheBlaze held a summit with some of the candidates last month, hosted by Tucker Carlson.