“The most exciting thing about covering politics is that it unfolds in front of you, you never know what could happen.” My mother’s voice carried through the crisp Cleveland morning, bouncing off the grey walls of Quicken Loans Arena, or “The Q”. I nodded, shrugging it off in all my teenage glory. While mom can’t help me with my trigonometry, she really does know quite a bit about the campaign trail.
Upon entering the hall, it was impossible not to absorb the dynamic energy exuded by the audience. I never would have expected such vibrancy from the endless sea of suits. The moderators were seated, turning to face the crowd. They introduced themselves as if there were no stage, no debate, or even an audience; I realized they were talking to the TV cameras. The astounding cheer after FOX’s Megyn Kelly finished her greeting was a sign of what was yet to come in the first GOP Debate of the 2016 Election.
The room fell silent with the first question, the crowd desperately taking in the candidate’s words until the bell rang signifying the candidate’s time to answer was up; the rush to finish their thought made those words sound more like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Donald Trump provided a much needed contrast, even though his presence was disruptive to the serious and staged nature of the event. He has become the symbol of the distress and delusion of the American people, desperate for a new direction. America needs big changes, and Donald Trump is a living hyperbole. Mr. Trump and his debate theatrics highlight the need for a pragmatic leader.
Standing a few podiums away from Mr. Trump was Senator Marco Rubio, whose velveteen voice and eloquence made him seem all the more presidential. Former Governor Jeb Bush was criticized for being slightly shaky and seemed all knowing in comparison to Donald Trump. Mr. Trump provided this service to other candidates as well, making Governor Chris Christie seem more intellectual, and Dr. Ben Carson seem more qualified, securing the aura of what an experienced politician should be. This debate was the unfolding of my own political views, the unfolding of my journalistic aspirations, and what the campaign trail is really like.
This debate was also an introduction to both the Republican Party and election politics as a whole. The phenomenon of petty political parties resided in my mind for many years, flirting with stereotypes and labeled as the price of Democracy. This image has been torn to pieces by the riveting reality of the way this great nation chooses its leaders. And while I may be spending the majority of the road to 2016 in a classroom, one thing stands true, this election season will unfold before the American people with unprecedented vigor, and anything could happen. Just like my mother said.
Follow Volta Insider on Twitter @VOLTAINSIDER. Volta Insider is Rachel Greenberg’s podcast, which creates a web of intriguing interviews on the ever-changing realms of art, innovation, and politics.
Republican candidates gathered together Thursday night for a highly anticipated first debate of the primary season in Cleveland, Ohio. Fox News anchors hurled tough and ambitious questions to candidates with Donald Trump starting things off by refusing to commit to not launching a third party bid, possibly undermining the future Republican nominee.
Moderator Megyn Kelly set the evening’s tone by confronting Trump about his past misogynistic comments on women, to which he responded he didn’t “have time for total political correctness.” Kelly asked Governor Scott Walker whether he could win a general election while possessing viewpoints out of the mainstream on abortion. Moderator Bret Baier confronted Senator Rand Paul on why he is “so quick to blame” his own party on foreign policy, which later incited a heated exchange between him and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on phone data collection and national security.
“When you’re sitting in a subcommittee, just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that,” Governor Christie fired at Senator Paul, who seconds later accused the governor for fundamentally misunderstanding the Bill of Rights and hugging President Obama. Christie looked presidential in his response that the hugs he remembered are with families who have lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks.
With such a crowded stage, fighting for time to speak was an inevitable factor. According to the Washington Post, the order of minutes spoken from most to least begins with Donald Trump at 10.31 minutes spoken, former Governor Jeb Bush with 8.47, Governor John Kasich with 6.56 minutes, former Governor Mike Huckabee with 6.50 minutes, and followed by Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Governor Chris Christie, Governor Scott Walker, and Senator Rand Paul.
When addressed for the second time, Ben Carson stated, “Well, thank you, Megyn, I wasn’t sure I was going to get to talk again.”
Ohio Governor John Kasich, who barely squeaked into the debate reserved for the top 10 polled Republican candidates, refused to be buried and presented himself as a formidable challenger. Placed on the far right side of the stage, due to his last place polling, Governor Kasich spoke to a more moderate leaning compassionate conservative. He said he would love his daughters unconditionally, even if they were gay, and defended his decision to expand Medicare in his home state. “Everybody has a right to their God-given purpose.”
The debate wrapped up around 11 pm, after a series of concise and rehearsed closing statements from the candidates.
The “Happy Hour” debate, which consisted of the seven Republican candidates who did not make the top 10 cut, took place earlier at 5 pm. Carly Fiorina received praise for her performance from multiple experts in Politico Magazine.
The next Republican debate will be hosted by CNN and Salem Radio at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California on Wednesday, September 16. The first Democratic debate will be held on October 13 in Nevada, hosted by CNN.