Republicans face growing urgency to stop Donald Trump as they enter the second presidential debate
Image via AP

GOP debate
Will anyone find the breakout moment they need?

Republicans are meeting for their second presidential debate Wednesday as his top rivals seek to blunt the momentum of Donald Trump, who is so confident of cruising through the party’s primary that he again won’t share a stage with them.

Seven GOP candidates will be at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for an event hosted by Fox Business Network. Trump will be in Michigan, delivering a prime-time speech attempting to capitalize on the Auto Workers Union strike and trying to appeal to rank-and-file union members in a key state for the general election.

The debate comes at a critical moment in the GOP campaign, with less than four months before the Iowa caucuses formally launch the presidential nomination process. For now, Trump is dominating the field even as he faces a range of vulnerabilities, including four criminal indictments that raise the prospect of decades in prison. His rivals are running out of time to dent his lead, which is building a sense of urgency among some to more directly take on the former president before an audience of millions.

“This is not a nomination that’s going to fall in your lap. You have to go and beat the other candidates and one of those happens to be Donald Trump,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and veteran of Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. “This debate, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not folks realize that the sand is going through the hourglass pretty quickly right now.”

The former President also skipped the first debate last month in Milwaukee, where the participants laid into one another while mostly avoiding attacks on Trump. Nearly 13 million people tuned in anyway.

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, drew larger crowds and new interest after her first debate performance in which she attacked entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy on foreign policy and pointed out that she was the only woman in the field.

Her team has raised expectations even higher going into Wednesday night, telling donors in a recent pitch that they are “ready to capitalize on the momentum after Nikki walks off stage.”

“As more voters across America tune in to watch the second debate, it’ll be a great opportunity to bring even more supporters into the fold,” Haley’s campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, wrote in an email.

Also hoping for a big night is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will be at center stage despite recent struggles to emerge as the field’s top Trump alternative. His campaign announced that he also saw a jump in fundraising after the first debate, but a strong performance on Wednesday will likely be necessary to replicate that.

“It’s too late for just a fine performance,” said Christine Matthews, a national Republican pollster. “DeSantis has gone from leading alternative to Trump to just one of the pack of challengers and he will be under pressure to perform.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Ramaswamy are similarly looking for breakout moments. Ramaswamy seized the spotlight frequently in Milwaukee, but was criticized by many candidates who sought to expose his lack of political experience.

Also on stage will be North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Chris Christie, the former New Jersey Governor, who has built his White House bid around slamming Trump.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson failed to qualify after making the first debate. Hutchinson’s campaign says he’ll also go to Michigan to hold a press conference criticizing Trump.

Ahead of the debate, many participants were meeting with top supporters, donors and reporters to make the case that they are best positioned going forward.

Reed Galen, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, an organization founded by conservatives who oppose Trump, said that while he still believes the former President will ultimately be the Republican nominee in 2024, Wednesday’s debate offers a chance for others to make up ground.

“There are opportunities in the offing because Trump is taking this for granted,” Galen said.

The site is symbolic given that Reagan has long been a Republican icon whose words and key moments still shape GOP politics today. But in addition to fighting with the Reagan library’s leaders, Trump has reshaped the party and pushed away from traditional GOP policy positions — including a muscular foreign policy and opposition to Moscow.

While Reagan is remembered for going to a divided Berlin and calling on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” Trump has often sympathized with Russian President Vladimir Putin and recently said, “I was the apple of his eye.”

Pence, in a recent speech, called on conservatives to reject Trump’s “siren song of populism.” But Ramaswamy attacked Pence in the first debate by declaring “it’s not morning in America” — a reversal of Reagan’s famous 1984 campaign slogan — and saying Republicans following Reagan were out of step with a Trump-dominated party.

“The sad thing is, the irony — and I don’t know how many people there will get it — is that Ronald Reagan could not get the Republican nomination today,” said former Republican New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, who is now teaming with Democratic voices to promote the centrist Forward Party. “He’s not far enough out there.”


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Earl Pitts American

    September 27, 2023 at 8:05 am

    Good mornting Patriots,
    You are all invited to “Relax Your Political Sphincters”.
    In case your dum @rss has been living under a rock for the past several years and you have not been paying attention to the epic wisdom of me, Earl Pitts American, i’m going to once again attempt to bust thru that thick head of yours and empower you to leave un-necessary “Growing Urgency” behind and feel the sweet sweet relief of Relaxing Your Political Sphincter’s.
    So listen up dough heads, how many times do I have to tell you “Smart” Patriots the truth and you simps keep running around in circles like the sky is falling?
    Here’s the poop once again confused Patriots:
    *shhhh dont tell any lefty’s about this it’s priority inside politics “for Patriot eyes only*
    The Donald is on standby awaiting my, Earl Pitts American”s, secret signal to withdraw and give his supporters to The Ronald. On the meanwhile both The Donald and The Ronald are under strict orders from me, Earl Pitts American, to pretend they hate each other when actually they are “Political Besties”.
    As a new and additional political sphincter relaxing treat we plan a delay on our VPOTUS pick until after The Ronald’s epic inaugration. At that time The new POTUS, The Ronald, will issue an Excutive Order clearing the way for The Donald to be appointed VPOTUS and Border Czar.
    Once again worry wart Patriots there is no reason not to “Relax Your Political Sphincters”
    You are welcome My Patriots,

    • tom culverhouse

      September 27, 2023 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Mr. Pitts,
      I’m taking the train into the city and read the above info. I have had problems like most have being overly invested in politics which had an effect on my elimination.
      Once I read your info for the second time I began to finally get it and politically began to relax.
      Mr. Pitts you owe me a new pair of underdrawers as when my political fears and concerns began to be lifted away I relaxed too much and doodled a little in my drawers. I just left them in the trains restroom and am happly continueing to my job with no underpanties on for the first time in my life. Tommy relieved, and kind of horney all of a sudden, but not uptight over politics any more.
      Thank you Sir, Tommy Culverhouse

      • Earl Pitts American

        September 27, 2023 at 11:06 am

        Well that just makes sense Tom,
        You will henceforth live long and prosper now that you have learned how to relax your political sphincter and allow all your smelly brown political concerns to be flushed into the healing potty of good health, wellbeing, and BTW you will see a minimum of 33 and 1/3% increase in your earnings too just by graduating with honors from Earl’s sphincter relaxation program.
        Live Long and Prosper former student Tom,

      • Rick Whitaker

        September 27, 2023 at 9:55 pm

        earl (billy purser) are you answering your cornball post with a different phoney entity? that sounds like what trump use to do if not why are you mimicking that cornball crap. it could be a mocking thing also, who cares, it’s still not funny and cornball

    • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

      September 28, 2023 at 11:44 am

      “Relax your Sphincter” is what you probably said to those children you raped.

  • My Take

    September 27, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    The horror of a Trump-II regime should be America’s growing nightmare. Not DeSScamus or Ramenswampy. When is it time to start painting for America what it would look like?

  • My Take

    September 27, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    Your Kids Don’t Really NEED Democracy.

    Fire All the Federal Inspectors
    Food, Water, Drugs, Tires, Aircraft
    Safety Is for Wimps.

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 27, 2023 at 9:42 pm

    why didn’t gop women rebuke trump when he made that “when you are rich or famous you can grab women and get away with it” comment? that is one reason i’m not a maga. most of the people on the debate stage voted for him, so you are right, it’s not worth watching for honest content

Comments are closed.


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