Last evening on August 23rd, the first Republican presidential primary debate was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In a crowded field of candidates mostly polling in the single digits, candidates sought to deliver rhetoric in desperate attempts to elevate themselves in the eyes of potential voters. The Republican frontrunner and likely nominee, the former 45th President Donald J. Trump, did not attend the debate, making the affair a battle of arguably irrelevant individuals. One candidate currently estimated to be in 6th place attempted to make headlines prior to the debate by using somewhat irresponsible rhetoric to criticize a piece of legislation touted by President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats. Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina compared the Inflation Reduction Act to a communist manifesto.
The remark was sent to supporters through an e-mail. Haley criticized the act, claiming that it was an example of Bidens spending policies that have added to the national debt. Haley claimed that the Inflation Reduction Act emboldens America’s enemies, naming China specifically. Haley alleged that the subsidies for “green” energy promoted in the act increased American dependence on Chinese products. Separately, during the debate, Haley continued to discuss reckless spending, accusing Donald Trump of being a major culprit. Haley criticized fellow candidates Tim Scott, Ron Desantis and Mike Pence for supporting COVID stimulus spending which contributed to inflation; she then noted that President Trump raised the debt by $8 trillion while in office, and that federal spending increased during his tenure of service.
Haley is currently polling at 3.4%. Former president Donald Trump currently enjoys a 37 point lead over the second place candidate, Florida governor Ron DeSantis. It will be difficult for any candidate to overcome the current polling deficit. Trump appeared with former Fox news host Tucker Carlson in a discussion which streamed simultaneously with the debate. Ultimately, the candidates who debated in Milwaukee play a distant second-fiddle to the dominant frontrunner.