Amid the charged and increasingly divisive political landscape, the upcoming debate will see candidates spar over a spectrum of pressing issues and the discourse will offer viewers a window into the party’s priorities and strategies.
Candidates will be on stage at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the biggest city in a battleground state that will also play host to the Republican National Convention next year.
What time does the debate start?
The two hour debate is going to start at 9 PM ET (6.30am Thursday IST), which is going to be moderated by Fox news hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.
Where to watch
Diverging from the format of previous presidential debates which were simultaneously broadcasted on multiple major networks and cable channels, this debate will be airing exclusively on Fox news and the Fox business network. Additionally, viewers can also watch the event on Fox’s official website as well as various streaming and digital platforms.
Apart from Fox network, the Republican National Committee has chosen Rumble, a video-sharing platform favored by conservative circles, as the livestreaming partner instead of the conventional choice of the network’s YouTube channel. This decision was attributed to a desire to move away from larger tech companies, as mentioned earlier this year by Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
The presidential candidates
The Chairwomen of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel on Sunday told Fox News that seven candidates had qualified for the debate while several others are ‘on the cusp’.
While the Republican National Committee has not officially announced the list of participants for the debate, here is a list of 2024 Republican hopefuls who are the front runners to qualify for the debate.
The former president of the United states seems to dominate the Republican presidential race with the majority of support among the Republican voters. According to reports, Trump’s indictments in four separate cases have only increased his popularity among the Republican voter base.
It is notable that the former Potus is facing federal and Georgia state charges over his key efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, as well others related to his retention of sensitive government reports after leaving office, and alleged hush money payments to a pornstar.
Although, it is speculated that Trump might not turn up for the debate as he had earlier said that there is little political upside for him to attend the debate.
In the latest polls, Trump commands nearly 55% support from Republican voters.
The former biotechnology investor and executive, Ramaswamy has excited a lot of political pundits as a potential alternative to Trump.
This Indian-American republican speaks about restoring American values. Ramaswamy has also managed to garner 7% support from the Republican voters in the latest polls conducted by Reuters and Ipsos.
Haley has earlier served as the Governor of South Carolina and Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations. Haley has emphasized her background as the daughter of Indian immigrants as well as her relative youth compared to Biden and Trump.
Haley is seen as a solid conservative in the Republican party, who address gender and racial issues with more credibility than her peers in the party. She has also portrayed herself as a defender of American interests abroad. Haley has received about 5% support among republican voters in the latest polls.
Former vice president in Trump’s presidency has received about 8% of the votes in the polls. Mike Pence dissociated himself with Trump after the attacks on US capitol by Trump supporters.
Mike Pence is known to be a staunch conservative who is now appealing directly to the evangelical Christian community for support.
After a rocky campaign launch on Twitter in May, DeSantis has taken a conservative stance on key social issues like abortion.
DeSantis’s well-funded campaign has struggle to gain momentum after his donor stopped his funding after Desantis’s extremist approach. DeSantis has also sacked his staff and rebooted his campaign several times since May. This ivy league educated lawyer is Trump’s top rival but remains far behind from the former president in the opinion polls. DeSantis gained 13% votes in the polls.
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The only Black Republican US senator garners limited recognition beyond South Carolina. Nevertheless, his efforts on uniting his fractured party distinguish him from the more assertive stance adopted by Trump and DeSantis. Supporters of Scott concede that his optimistic disposition holds appeal, yet they acknowledge its potential insufficiency for victory.
At 57 years of age, Scott managed to secure 2% backing among Republicans, as indicated by polling conducted by Reuters/Ipsos.
Starting his White House campaign in April, the ex-governor of Arkansas urged Trump to recede from the forefront in order to address his legal indictment. Aged 72, Hutchinson has showcased his leadership background in the deeply conservative state as evidence of his capability to enact policies that resonate with Republican voters. This includes referencing accomplishments such as tax reductions and efforts to foster job growth.
Nonetheless, his prominence extends primarily within Arkansas, with a mere 1% of surveyed registered Republicans indicating support for him in Reuters/Ipsos polls.
Chris Christie was the advisor of Trump’s presidential campaign, but his stance shifted dramatically, evolving into a vocal critic of the former president following the events of January 6, 2021. As Trump faces an increasing array of legal accusations, the former New Jersey governor has escalated his verbal criticisms.
In the most recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, boasting a credibility interval of approximately 6 percentage% , Christie failed to garner any backing from Republicans.
Currently in his second term as North Dakota’s governor, the 67-year-old Burgum made a mark by selling his software venture to Microsoft Corp back in 2001. Advocating for reduced taxes and regulations, he has presented himself as a traditional conservative who prioritizes economic matters and national security. However, even with his policy positions, he failed to amass any backing from the 355 surveyed registered Republicans in the early August polls.
Why the GOP presidential debate is held in Wisconsin
With the Milwaukee debate, Wisconsin’s genuine battleground role gains prominence. The state’s significance is underlined by four out of six recent elections being closely contested. As the inaugural primary approaches, the presence of presidential candidates underscores Wisconsin’s significance in shaping the future of the GOP. The approaching inaugural primary in the state stirs up increased political excitement, as candidates seek to resonate with Wisconsin’s diverse voter base. With the history of narrow victories and losses, the state’s voters remain at the heart of the democratic process, motivated to impact the direction of the 2024 presidential race.
Notably, this GOP presidential debate is also going to be special for India as two Indian-American Republican candidates, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy, participate in the 2024 US Presidential race, embracing their ethnic backgrounds while emphasizing “America First” values.
Both recognize that their Indian roots alone won’t secure their place in a primarily white, Christian voter base.
As the first GOP primary debate nears, Haley and Ramaswamy position themselves as Trump alternatives. While Haley promotes herself as a strong woman candidate, Ramaswamy, at 38, presents himself as an “outsider” championing American values. Polls show Ramaswamy surpassing Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence, positioning third behind Trump and DeSantis. Ramaswamy’s multifaceted campaign approach garners attention, with him being dubbed a breakout star.
Despite challenges from critics, both candidates hope to make an impact during the August 23 Republican debate, seeking to improve their polling and voter appeal.
Watch Poll finds growing Republican support for Trump amid criminal charges