As the fall season of 2023 approaches ever nearer, the second round of national presidential debates in the Republican executive primary competition is scheduled for the end of September. As of now, six candidates have secured a spot on the debate stage. The requirements to enter the second GOP debate are more stringent in comparison to the first; candidates must meet a 3% polling average, demonstrate funding requirements have been met, and sign a pledge promising to support the eventual Republican nominee. Theoretically, 7 prospective candidates have met funding and polling requirements- Donald Trump, the former 45th president, has declined to join the other candidates on the debate stage. From Trumps perspective, the debates are a distraction and unnecessary as he maintains a 40-point lead over the second place challenger, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis.
Trump maintains a sizeable lead over the crowded field of candidates in the face of 4 criminal indictments against him. Two state prosecutors and a federal special counsel have commenced four investigations against the American business mogul from New York City. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged Trump in correlation to a payment in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels. In another case, Trump has been federally indicted in association with his handlings of classified documents at his Mar-A-Lago estate after he left the White House. The same federal office also level charges against him in association with the January 6th demonstrations, and claim Trump attempted to conspire against the government of the United States to overturn the election.
In Georgia, he was also indicted by the Fulton County District attorney in association with the 2020 election there. In this case, prosecutors announced on September 6th that they plan to use 150 witnesses, an astounding number. Trump continues to maintain his innocence and calls the indictments a political “witch hunt”. Republican voters tend to agree, and his poll numbers continue to his rise.