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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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Round three: A look at the economy

Graphic+by+Sydney+Farris

Graphic by Sydney Farris

Amidst shifts in rankings, rumors of withdrawal from the race and social media skirmishes, GOP candidates will take to the primary debate stage once again, this time to focus on economic issues.
The the GOP primary debate, hosted by CNBC and entitled “Your Money, Your Vote,” will take place in two parts just as the previous two have, with the primetime debate starting at 7 p.m. Central Time. This debate is scheduled to be shorter than the latest debate, which lasted three hours, at only two hours. The debate will be moderated by John Harwood, CNBC’s chief Washington correspondent and co-anchors of “Squawk Box,” Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla.  
The 5 p.m. debate will feature candidates Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham, and the 7 p.m. primetime debate will feature Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie and John Kasich. Candidates who are debating on the primetime platform are currently polling with at least 3 percent. 
In the past week, Carson has been doing particularly well, gaining on Trump and surpassing him in Iowa and in USA Today’s GOP Power Rankings. Trump has shown a dislike for these new rankings through social media incidents, and Kirby Goidel, a fellow at the Public Policy Research Institute and communication professor, said the dynamic between the two candidates will be something to watch for during Wednesday’s debate.
“It’s a little different than the previous debate in the sense that Trump was leading and so we were all looking to see who was willing to go after Trump and how hard they would go after him and if they could knock him off the pedestal,” Goidel said. “[Carson is] a very soft spoken kind of guy, he said he doesn’t want to get into the mud slinging so it’ll be interesting to see if Trump can rattle him at all and get him to rethink that stance.”
President of Aggies4Carson and sociology senior Emily Berman said Carson’s experience as a neurosurgeon has translated to patience in debating as well.
“Dr. Carson has performed extremely well in previous debates for never holding public office,” Berman said. “His patience and stamina really shows when he’s behind the podium. He does not need to attack other candidates and does not lose his composure under pressure. This is a virtue that every Commander in Chief should have. He sets the bar high.” 
Goidel said another thing to watch for this debate is how Jeb Bush presents himself. On Friday Bush’s campaign announced major restructuring.
“He’s really never gained traction like he should have, given the amount of money that he’s raised and given the amount of [organizational] support that he has,” Goidel said.  “It’s going to be interesting to see if he can do anything that gives his campaign any sort of life or sense of momentum, because it’s not that unusual for a candidate like him not to do as well as expected  early on and typically they start to reorganize, resync, restructure their campaign a bit and then they start to come back.”
One of the critiques of the last GOP debate was directed towards the moderators for having a lack of control over the debate. Goidel said the moderators may try to control the debate more this time around, but ultimately it’s a candidate-controlled situation. 
“One of the sort of oddities in debates with lots of candidates is there is an incentive to break the rules and jump in because unless the moderator tries to take control of the situation then you have more time to talk,” Goidel said. “You want to do it in a way that you don’t appear to be rude, but also in a way that appears that you’re authoritative in terms of your presence and that you can command the stage and that you can make sure that your viewpoints are not being left out.”
While the attention largely focuses on front runners Carson and Trump, the stage will be filled with other debaters, as well. Republican political science freshman Kaity McClaine said she hopes Fiorina will play a large role in this debate.
“I wish it was Fiorina that surpassed [Trump], I like her the most,” McClaine said. “I just really like how she speaks. She really presents her ideas well. I watched clips of the last debate and I really thought she did win. I thought she was the best speaker.” 
A number of students, however, are not eager for the debate. 
The Aggie Democrats will use the event as a platform for campaigning. Amol Shalia, president of Aggie Democrats and geophysics senior,  said his organization will make calls to Houston to urge voters to vote on a workplace discrimination proposition instead of watching. 
“They will advocate for the same, old, tired ideas of the past that didn’t work then and won’t work now if any of them become president,” Shalia said. “The reality show stars that are the GOP front-runners will be falling over each other to attack their opponents to score cheap political points. We don’t need to watch that, we’ll be working hard for change.”
Young Americans for Liberty member and psychology junior Cody Alejandro said the debate is a joke.
“The presidential debates are a joke to my generation,” Alejandro said. “We turn them into drinking games to cope with the fact that we’re screwed.”

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