Nov 9, 2023

SPECIAL EDITION: The third Republican debate.

Nikki Haley (left) and Vivek Ramaswamy (right) had some of the most contentious moments of the night. Image: NBC News YouTube
Nikki Haley (left) and Vivek Ramaswamy (right) had some of the most contentious moments of the night. Image: NBC News YouTube

It was a substantive and contentious night.

I’m Isaac Saul, and this is Tangle: an independent, nonpartisan, subscriber-supported politics newsletter that summarizes the best arguments from across the political spectrum on the news of the day — then “my take.”

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We are going to break down what happened in the third GOP debate with a special edition today.

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Reminder.

We’d typically be off on Friday in observance of Veteran’s Day on November 11, but tomorrow we're going to publish a contentious Israel-Palestine debate on our YouTube channel and podcast. Keep an eye out for an email with links to watch and listen.


Quick hits.

  1. Israel continued its offensive in Gaza City yesterday, with numerous clashes reported between Israel's army and Hamas militants in residential areas. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a united Palestinian-led government for the Gaza strip and the West Bank. (The plan)
  2. House Republicans subpoenaed Hunter Biden and James Biden (President Biden's brother) as part of their impeachment inquiry. (The subpoena)
  3. Ivanka Trump testified in the New York civil fraud trial that is investigating the Trump organization. (The testimony)
  4. In the wake of Tuesday's elections, Democrats are moving swiftly to add abortion-related ballot measures to the 2024 elections. (The effort)
  5. The union representing Hollywood actors struck a tentative deal with major studios last night, effectively ending the writers and actors strike that has brought the industry to a standstill. (The deal)

Today's topic.

The third Republican debate. On Wednesday night, five Republican candidates took the stage in Miami, Florida, to debate foreign policy, abortion, former President Donald Trump's record, and the economy. To qualify for the third debate, candidates needed to poll above 4% in either two national surveys or in one national survey and two surveys from early-nominating states. Each candidate also needed to receive more than 70,000 individual donations. The Iowa caucuses for Republicans begin in just over two months

On stage were Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Former President Trump, who is leading in the polls, skipped the debate for the third time.

Throughout the debate, the candidates were asked questions about the war in Ukraine, the unfolding conflict in Israel, Tuesday's election results, antisemitism on college campuses, abortion, economic growth, and former President Donald Trump's record. The mood of the night was testy, with several candidates calling out Republicans' underperformance in the last few elections and demanding new leadership. For the first time, three of the five candidates criticized Trump directly, framing him as a political loser and a different person than he was in 2016. Haley and Ramaswamy in particular sparred throughout the night, with Ramaswamy at one point invoking Haley's daughter and her use of TikTok and Haley calling Ramaswamy "scum" in response.

As we did with the first and second debates, today we are going to get out of our normal format and highlight each candidate — from least to most popular in the national polling average — and briefly recap their highs and lows from the night.

Then we'll share views from the left and right, and then my take.


Tim Scott.

2.2% in the polls

Scott, the 58-year-old South Carolina senator, often seemed listless on the stage, especially on a night when his counterparts were highly engaged and animated from their opening remarks. Faith was a central theme of his answers, and he stressed the need for a “cultural and spiritual” rebirth in American society. He largely stood by the positions on Ukraine, immigration, abortion, and the economy that he shared in previous debates, but was often evasive when pressed by moderators for explicit stances on issues like new funding for Ukraine. Though he grew more energetic as the debate progressed, Scott seemed relegated to the fringes of many discussions. Still, he managed to articulate clear conservative positions on many of the issues most important to GOP voters. 

The notables:

  • Scott opened by drawing attention to the need for the GOP to attract more independent voters to the party, saying that as president he would work to restore faith and “Christian values” to U.S. society. 
  • He came out forcefully in support of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, arguing the country has a responsibility and a right to “wipe Hamas off the map” by whatever means necessary. He said Biden’s Middle East policy amounted to appeasement through diplomacy and called for strikes against Iran in response to attacks on U.S. military personnel in Syria. 
  • On Ukraine, he said the president needed to better explain to Americans how U.S. aid is being spent in the country but stated his support for their fight against Russia. When pressed on whether he would support additional funding to Ukraine, though, Scott sidestepped the question. 
  • Speaking to college administrators on campuses that have seen anti-Israel protests in recent weeks, Scott said, “Federal funding is a privilege, not a right,” adding that he would deport any foreign students on visas who expressed support for Hamas.
  • In a prolonged exchange with moderator Lester Holt on the economy and cost-of-living issues, Scott made a spirited case that removing barriers to harnessing America’s energy resources is key to driving down prices in all other areas of life, arguing that consumer confidence in future abundance would naturally lower prices for most goods. 
  • Finally, Scott said he would not support raising the retirement age for social security benefits and proposed a return to pre-Covid levels of spending to free up money to sustain entitlement programs. He also reiterated his call for a 15-week national abortion ban and pressed other candidates on stage to get behind the proposal. 

Chris Christie.

3.1% in the polls

Christie, the 61-year-old former governor of New Jersey, gave direct answers to the questions posed by the moderators, outlining a vision for strong American leadership in global conflicts and advocating for a number of reforms to domestic policies on key issues like border security, entitlements, and energy. Though he remained a vocal critic of Trump, Christie’s responses were more issue-oriented than they had been in past debates, and he pointed to his record as a governor to illustrate many of his policy positions. The relatively smaller candidate pool on stage also enabled Christie to weigh in on virtually every topic covered in the debate, but he eschewed personal attacks and was relegated to the background during the most animated moments of the night. In a departure from the first two debates, he was not asked about either aliens or AI.

The notables:

  • Christie stated his unequivocal support for Israel in its military response to Hamas’ attack. Speaking to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said, “America is here, no matter what it is you need, at any time, to preserve the state of Israel.” Similarly, he gave his full support to continued Ukraine funding, suggesting the U.S. has a responsibility as the leader of the free world to defend all our democratic allies abroad. 
  • Asked about how he would respond to Muslim Americans who say they fear for their safety in the U.S. right now, Christie invoked his experience as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey after 9/11, saying that he worked to develop strong relationships with Muslim communities to ensure their wellbeing in the aftermath of the attacks. 
  • When discussing how he would respond to the threat posed by social media apps like TikTok in spreading disinformation, Christie said, “TikTok is not only spyware, it is polluting the minds of American young people.” He added that he would ban TikTok in his first week in office.
  • On border security, Christie called for more resources and technology to be sent to the southern border and said he would sign an executive order to direct the National Guard to partner with Border Patrol to better enforce immigration laws.
  • On abortion, Christie reiterated his stance that the issue should be decided at the state level and argued Republicans need to show they are “pro-life for the whole life” and not just during pregnancy. 

Vivek Ramaswamy.

5.3% in the polls

Ramaswamy, the 38-year-old entrepreneur, had another night of trading personal attacks and positioning himself as outside the mainstream of the Republican Party. He again brawled with Nikki Haley, drawing real indignation from the former UN ambassador and boos from the crowd, and also picked fights with Gov. Ron DeSantis. Throughout the night, Ramaswamy dropped a handful of references to some more niche, online ideas, like Elon Musk or Joe Rogan moderating a debate, DeSantis wearing lifts in his boots, and that the DNC is secretly planning to replace Biden as their nominee. A theme throughout his answers was that the current political moment calls for a “CEO of the next generation,” telling a narrative of a Republican Party that is losing on the issues and needs a change at the top.

The notables:

  • In response to his opening question, Ramaswamy attacked the debate moderators, asking NBC News’ Kristen Welker to defend her reporting on the Trump-Russia collusion story.
  • Ramaswamy was on the attack all night. At one point, he said there is a cancer in the Republican Party that’s been losing them elections since 2018, seemingly cueing up a real refutation of Donald Trump. Instead, he said the person Republicans should blame was RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. Several attendees said that they then saw him arguing with McDaniel from the stage after the debate. 
  • He drew boos from the crowd for telling Nikki Haley to “take care of your family first” because her daughter used TikTok, provoking a contemptuous response of “you’re just scum” from Haley.
  • Like most candidates, Ramaswamy was highly critical of southern border security and the Mexican government for the fentanyl crisis, but went further in calling fentanyl deaths “poisonings” and calling Mexican President Andrés Obrador a failed leader. He then went another step further, saying that we should be proactive and build a wall on our northern border with Canada, too.
  • On Israel, he said the state is an ally with a right to self-determination, but differentiated himself on the position of anti-Israel protests on college campuses. He said that pro-Hamas protestors are fools that need to be won over with leadership but shouldn’t be responded to with censorship.
  • On Ukraine, Ramaswamy cautioned against drawing ourselves into WWIII, and said that we have to stop sending aid to a corrupt country. The war between Russia and Ukraine was not “good versus evil” he said, calling Ukraine no “paragon of Democracy” and implying that the territories Russia has occupied since 2014 are not legitimately Ukrainian.
  • Ramaswamy’s position on abortion was similar to every other candidate aside from Scott, saying the unborn have a right to life, that we shouldn’t pursue a federal ban, and we should support more programs for contraception and adoption. He criticized Republicans for having a losing message on abortion, and added that men need to be more responsible for births resulting from supporting unwanted pregnancies.

Nikki Haley.

8.7% in the polls

Haley, the 51-year-old former ambassador to the United Nations, was a key player in the debate amid a recent surge in her poll numbers. She called for sustained U.S. support of allies Israel and Ukraine while condemning Russia, China, and Iran for their roles in ongoing global conflicts. On domestic issues, she sharply criticized President Biden while seeking to distinguish her positions from others’ on the stage, particularly Ron DeSantis. Once again, her most memorable moments came during back-and-forths with Vivek Ramaswamy, though this time Ramaswamy was the one initiating the clashes. On the whole, Haley sought to bolster her image as a leader with deep executive and foreign policy experience while also speaking to cultural issues that ignite the GOP’s conservative base. 

The notables:

  • Haley covered a range of key issues in her opening remarks, touching on cost-of-living expenses, antisemitism on college campuses, border security, and crime. She also led with an attack on Trump, saying, “Trump was the right president at the right time [in 2016], but I don’t think he’s the right president now.”
  • On Israel, she said the U.S. should have three goals in the conflict: the elimination of Hamas, consistent support of Israel in its fight, and the safe return of U.S. citizens held hostage by Hamas. She added that America is relying on Israel as “the tip of the spear” leading the fight against emerging threats in the Middle East like Iran, which she painted as part of an “unholy alliance” with China and Russia.
  • Discussing the possibility of a war with China over Taiwan, Haley said the U.S. needs to modernize its military and sever relations with China in areas like trade and land purchases. She also claimed that the best deterrence the U.S. can offer against a Chinese attack on Taiwan is ongoing support to Ukraine, which demonstrates America’s willingness to support democratic allies in global conflicts. 
  • Haley repeatedly framed herself as a pragmatist on issues like social security and inflation, arguing that Republicans need to be honest with voters about what options are feasible to address the issues that affect their lives. Her answer on how Republicans can navigate the issue of abortion was a standout moment. “I don’t judge anyone for being pro-choice, and I don’t want them to judge me for being pro-life,” she said, adding that the issue has divided Americans for too long and consensus should be sought in areas like ensuring contraception access, encouraging adoptions, and banning late-term abortions, which drew a long applause from the audience.
  • Haley and Ramaswamy attacked each other repeatedly, with the exchanges often turning acrimonious in a debate that was otherwise more civil than the previous two. 

Ron DeSantis.

14.1% in the polls

DeSantis, the 45-year-old governor of Florida, had a very in-character night of mostly recycled talking points with a few gems scattered throughout, like his opening message that directly challenged Donald Trump. DeSantis continued to use aggressive language on all issues involving the military and security but general language to describe his mainstream Republican positions on issues like Social Security, economic growth, TikTok, and abortion. In both his opening and closing statements, DeSantis delivered nearly identical messages that he would fight for Americans and deliver on promises, touting his record as Florida’s governor and his service in Iraq. He deflected personal attacks from Haley and Ramaswamy during the debate and often spoke vaguely, but was very comfortable fielding questions on the southern border and his plan to grow the U.S. Navy.

The notables:

  • In his opening statement, DeSantis said Donald Trump owes it to the American people to be on the debate stage and explain why he didn’t build the wall, why he increased the debt, and why Republicans are losing so much.
  • He touted his service in the Navy in Iraq in response to a question about attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq, chiding Biden for being too weak to challenge Iran directly. He described our Middle East military personnel as “sitting ducks,” and said retaliation to these attacks had been “glancing blows” when a forceful and direct response to Iran is needed.
  • DeSantis was highly supportive of Israel and extremely critical of those who are not, saying that he would pull the visas of students who protest with Hamas. He boasted that he’s done more than Biden has on this issue by helping to bring Floridians back home from Israel, chastising the president for warning against rising Islamophobia when the real problem in the U.S. is growing antisemitism.
  • In response to how to stop the war in Ukraine from becoming a regional conflict, DeSantis said we shouldn’t send any troops to Ukraine but to the southern border instead. Furthermore, he said Europe needs to do their part in Ukraine and that the U.S. needs to invest in confronting its real enemy, China.
  • The Florida governor offered the most specific and direct answer to the question of how to grow the Navy, saying that he has a plan on his campaign website to increase the U.S. naval fleet to 355 ships after his first term, 380 after his second, and to be on a path to 600 within two decades.
  • His answers on the economy were noticeably vague. To spur growth on day one, DeSantis said that he would throw Bidenomics in the trash and reign in the Federal Reserve. To fix Social Security, he said he would focus on GDP growth.
  • Each candidate had a noticeable change in their position on abortion, and DeSantis’s response echoed what his fellow candidates were saying — that everyone has a right to life and that we need different responses on the issue in different states, shying away from supporting a federal ban. He also criticized state-specific abortion referenda and Republicans’ losing positions, but seemed to be searching for specifics while talking in circles.

What the left is saying.

  • The left says the debate was another dud and questions why the candidates remained so reluctant to criticize Trump. 
  • Some called Trump the clear winner of the debate and said his decision not to participate continues to be validated.
  • Others say most of the candidates still flounder when it comes to key issues like abortion. 

In The Washington Post, Aaron Blake assessed “the winners and losers” of the debate. 

Trump was the winner, as his “lead has only continued to expand, and the candidates continue to be averse to even really attempting to lay a glove on him,” Blake wrote. “The candidates are obviously worried about alienating Trump’s supporters. But it hasn’t worked. And they still haven’t found the recipe for even subtly criticizing him in a way that lands.”

DeSantis and Haley were losers, as “they didn’t do much to really change the race… Neither looked like someone who could seriously challenge Trump or even appeared all that likely to become the clear alternative, which seems to be the real prize right now.” Ramaswamy, meanwhile, “appears to have lost his moment in this race, to the extent he had one,” and his comments were “more befitting a guy looking for a Fox News hosting gig than anything else.”

In Slate, Molly Olmstead said Nikki Haley was the only GOP candidate who “seemed to learn something” from the party’s election performance. 

“After years of hearing Republican candidates recite virtually the same talking points about abortion on the campaign trail and at debates, something strange happened on Wednesday night: Nikki Haley said something different,” Olmstead wrote. “The message was clear: The party needs to give this up for good. And that message seemed sensible after the GOP’s dismally poor performance in Tuesday’s general election, blamed largely on abortion-related campaigns.”

“The tactic echoed the pragmatic case that Haley made against nominating Donald Trump in the first debate—that he cannot win another general election—one that saw her poll numbers rise even after she criticized her party’s most popular figure. It’s possible this kind of leveling with the voters about what’s realistic, whatever her motivation, is part of why she’s outperformed Trump and DeSantis in a couple of recent head-to-head polls against Joe Biden.”

In The Atlantic, Russell Berman wrote the candidates “once again declined their opportunity to take on the absent front-runner.”

When Ramaswamy “bemoaned the GOP’s lackluster performance” in this week’s elections, he chose to blame “not the GOP’s undisputed leader for the past seven years but Ronna McDaniel, the party functionary—unknown to most Americans,” Berman said. “The moment was a fitting encapsulation of a debate that, like the first two Republican primary matchups, all but ignored the candidate who wasn’t there.”

“If nothing else, each of these Trump-less debates offers his opponents a free shot to make the case against him, a platform to criticize the front-runner without facing an immediate rebuttal. For the third time in a row, Haley and her competitors mostly passed up their chance. If they’re angling to be Trump’s running mate or emergency replacement, perhaps they’ve advanced their cause. But if their goal is to dislodge Trump as the nominee, opportunities like tonight’s are slipping away.”


What the right is saying.

  • The right thinks the debate was a notable improvement on the first two and featured interesting, substantive discussions.
  • Some say Christie, Ramaswamy, and Scott need to drop out to let DeSantis and Haley take on Trump for the nomination. 
  • Others say Trump continues to outshine the entire field combined. 

In The New York Post, Isaac Schorr said it’s time to “let DeSantis and Haley spar to take on Trump.”

“There is no case for any of the other participants to press on. For the third consecutive time, DeSantis and Haley did the most to help themselves, proving that they’re the two best candidates on paper and in practice,” Schorr wrote. “Haley gave focused, policy-driven answers informed by her Reaganite worldview. DeSantis stressed the difference between rhetoric and real world results, bringing up his record of accomplishment in the Sunshine State at every opportunity.”

“The frontrunner has wisely stayed above the fray to date. To draw him into it, the anti-Trump forces will need to coalesce around a single candidate. And before there can be one, Haley and DeSantis must have it out without the three also-rans distracting from the two contenders,” Schorr said. “Basic math and patriotic duty demand that those without a chance of saving the country from a Trump-Biden rematch at least refrain from condemning it to such a calamity.”

In National Review, Noah Rothman said “there’s the Republican Party I recognize.”

“It was a combative debate, but there was more consensus on that stage than contention. Among the points of broad agreement: America is a force for good on the world stage, the American-led geopolitical order is worth preserving, and America’s geostrategic position vis-à-vis its foreign adversaries can have dire consequences for the quality of life U.S. citizens presently enjoy,” Rothman wrote. 

“Of the three GOP debates so far, this was the strongest. These two hours were devoted to issues Republicans care about, and the questions were premised on Republican assumptions. The relative seriousness of the moment was reflected in the candidates’ demeanor,” Rothman said. “They treated the job they were interviewing for like it was the most important position in the world, and they didn’t talk down to their audiences.”

In The Spectator US, Roger Kimball argued “Trump’s rally mattered more than the GOP debate.”

“It was pleasantly (mostly) surreal flicking back and forth between the tidy, well-laundered and well-pressed debate and the raucous free-for-all that was the Trump rally,” Kimball said. “Anyone wanting to know which event mattered more — the official debate, or Trump’s free-for-all down the road — need only avail himself of an applause-meter of the sort that they used to use on Queen for a Day. By that measure, Trump won in a landslide. His thousands of fans generated enough energy to illuminate a small city.”

“Vivek won the night at Conservative Inc. HQ, but none of the five there is going to nab the Republican nomination. That palm will go to Donald Trump. He confirmed it tonight, not by any policy announcements but by the mood and energy he generated,” Kimball wrote. “[Trump’s] opponents are lost talking about what program or incentive they would support as president. They were in a room, on a stage. Donald Trump was outdoors performing like a rock star.”


My take.

Reminder: "My take" is a section where I give myself space to share my own personal opinion. If you have feedback, criticism, or compliments, don't unsubscribe. Write in by replying to this email, or leave a comment.

  • This was the best debate yet — the responses were substantive, and (mostly) respectful.
  • The most important moment of the night was the candidates’ changing message on abortion, with Haley providing the standout answer.
  • But again, no one rose up to really challenge the frontrunner, Donald Trump.

We highlighted some highs and lows for each candidate above, and I had some highs and lows from my personal perspective, too. On the whole, I think this was actually a very substantive night, and the first time we’ve seen anyone (aside from Christie) really step up and challenge Trump — which made it a lot more interesting and relevant than the first two debates.

I thought Ramaswamy gave the best answer about the protests happening on college campuses that have veered into bizarre defenses of Hamas and justification for their attack on Israel. While candidates like DeSantis were championing censorship, pulling visas, and cutting funding for student groups, Ramaswamy took a different tack:

"We don't quash this with censorship because that creates a worse underbelly," he said. "We quell it through leadership by calling it out," adding that "it's not productive for companies to blacklist kids for being members of student groups that make dumb political statements on campus."

He rightly warned conservatives that anyone wielding cancel culture against anti-Israel groups will inevitably feel the brunt of that culture themselves, and he made comparisons to similar actions being taken against people who support Donald Trump or were critical of taking vaccines. I also think he has a cogent philosophy that a lack of national pride is ripping at the fabric of American life.

Haley again shined, giving the best answer on abortion that I've heard from a pro-life candidate in a long time: You have to be honest with the American people about what is realistic. You have to recognize the personal liberty element of this conversation. You have to accept the fact that, without Roe v. Wade, states are going to decide this issue. You have to win the argument on the merits, not with empty promises that any president is going to be able to step in and ban abortion at the national level, which is not going to happen.

There is actually a great deal of consensus on the issue that the pro-life side could act on if they let go of the pipe dream of a federal ban. Haley is the only one honest enough to say that out loud, which is astounding — especially given how badly Republicans are losing on this issue. Not only that, but she calls for things like increased contraceptive access, more adoptions, and better support for mothers, all things that desperately need to be heard by so many people.

Finally, I thought DeSantis did the best job actually challenging the person they are all supposed to challenge: Donald Trump. He hit Trump where I think it is genuinely important.

"Donald Trump’s a lot different guy than he was in 2016. He owes it to you to be on this stage and explain why he should get another chance," DeSantis said. "He should explain why he didn’t have Mexico pay for the border wall. He should explain why he racked up so much debt. He should explain why he didn’t drain the swamp... He said Republicans were gonna get tired of winning. Well, we saw last night — I’m sick of Republicans losing."

To me, that's the argument for anyone who wants to beat Trump: He is not the same person he was in 2016, he is dodging the debates, he failed on his signature promise, he racked up huge amounts of debt, he didn't drain the swamp (even in his telling, he got out-maneuvered by the swamp), and Republicans have done nothing but lose since he got into office.

Again: I am shocked it took DeSantis this long to actually attack Trump, but here we are.

There were also lows: Ramaswamy started the night with a bizarre attempt to blame everything on the media and attack the moderators before any real questions were even asked. It stunk of a rehearsed, out-of-place, swing for the fences to me, and it was especially bizarre because this ended up being the best and most fairly moderated debate so far. I have no idea what he was going for, but if his position is that it's the media's fault Republicans have been losing elections, he is not going to make it very far as a candidate.

Perhaps most disturbing was that nearly every candidate on stage seemed to be salivating over the prospect of a war with Iran. If you want to understand why Trump is still one of the most popular politicians in America, just go listen to the answers on Iran from the candidates on stage last night. Aside from Ramaswamy, the entire Republican field answered questions about Iran with rhetoric that essentially amounted to "Joe Biden should have been bombing them yesterday."

It's a stunning, post-9/11 posture that is so divorced from the desires of the American people I was actually shocked to see almost all of them take it so confidently. Kudos to Ramaswamy, at least, for not joining the fray, but... woof. I am more certain than ever that the establishment is ready to drag us into another major war tomorrow if they get the chance.

I did enjoy the initial barbs between Ramaswamy and Haley ("Dick Cheney in three-inch heels" was a well placed line at Haley and DeSantis, and Haley was well-prepped with a quippy response of her own), but it went from funny barbs to way too personal when Ramaswamy invoked her daughter and Haley took the bait, calling him "scum." At a time when our country desperately needs some adults in the room to show us all how to have reasonable disagreements, that exchange was a massive failure.

Ultimately, redundantly, and for the third time, I think the real winner was Donald Trump. He took a few more blows than he did in the first two debates, but for the most part the five candidates ate each other alive, ringing the bells for more war and doing little to meaningfully separate themselves from the one man they all have to beat if they want the nomination. It seems clearer and clearer to me that Ramaswamy is interested in being vice president or pursuing a future in Congress (or perhaps on cable television, as Aaron Blake suggested under “What the left is saying”), and not the actual job he says he is running for. Scott and Christie are simply biding their time, and everyone knows they don’t have a shot at this point. I think the “real” race is now between Trump, DeSantis, and Haley, and it’d be really great if voters got one look at the three of them on stage together before primary voting actually begins.


Numbers.

  • 18 minutes, 55 seconds. Tim Scott’s speaking time during the debate, the most of any candidate. 
  • 16 minutes, 15 seconds. Chris Christie’s speaking time during the debate, the least of any candidate. 
  • 8 minutes, 27 seconds. The amount of time spent discussing abortion during the debate, the most of any topic.
  • 6%. The support candidates will need in at least two national polls — or both 6% in one national poll and 6% in one statewide poll in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada — to qualify for the fourth GOP debate on December 6.
  • 0.8. Donald Trump’s lead over the next closest candidate (Ben Carson) in GOP primary polls on November 8, 2015. 
  • 44.1. Donald Trump’s lead over the next closest candidate (Ron DeSantis) in GOP primary polls on November 8, 2023.
  • 10.6. The approximate mileage between the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, the site of the GOP debate, and Henry Milander Park in Hialeah, where Trump held a competing rally. 
  • 40%. The percentage of GOP primary voters who said the party’s presidential primary debates are “very important” prior to the third debate, according to a Morning Consult poll. 
  • 49%. The percentage of GOP primary voters who said the party’s presidential primary debates are “very important” prior to the first debate in August.

The extras.

  • One year ago today we wrote about the surprising results of last year's midterm elections.
  • The most clicked link in yesterday's newsletter was once again the video of a spry Bernie Sanders.
  • Abortion? Don't forget the economy!: 1,179 Tangle readers responded to our poll asking readers to rank which issues would impact their vote if the 2024 election were held today, with the issues scored on a scale from 1 to 5 (with five being the most important). The economy ranked first at 3.7, then abortion at 3.2, foreign policy at 3.1, immigration at 3.0, denying the 2020 election results at 2.6, healthcare at 2.5, gun control at 2.4, climate change at 2.4, then crime at 2.0. "Education should be on the list. School vouchers should be a national issue," one respondent said.
  • Nothing to do with politics: Japan's brand new island.
  • Take the poll. Who do you think was the winner of last night's debate? Let us know!

Have a nice day.

Canadian entrepreneur Marcel LeBrun struck it big when he sold his social media monitoring company for eight figures, and wasted little time dedicating those funds to a philanthropic cause. LeBrun founded the non-profit 12 Neighbours, which creates affordable housing through the manufacture of tiny homes. In a new factory in his home city of Fredericton, New Brunswick, 12 Neighbours is churning out one tiny home every four business days to create a gated community of 99 tiny homes to give Frederictonians a real second chance. The tiny homes have a full-service kitchen, living and bedroom areas, roof-mounted solar panels, and a full bathroom, while the community will have an enterprise center to help community members find work. Lebrun has invested $4 million of his own money into the project, which is three-quarters of the way to completion. “I see myself as a community builder, and really what we’re doing here is not just building a little community, but we’re building a community in a city,” LeBrun told the CBC. Good News Network has the story.


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