Home / Fall 2015 / Republican candidates tackles the top issues in debate

Republican candidates tackles the top issues in debate

Photo Illustration: Kayla Stroud/THE SPECTATOR

Written by Dillon LaRue Rountree, Staff Writer

In an almost party-like atmosphere, the Valdosta State College Republicans settled in Wednesday night to watch the CNN Republican Presidential Debate. The group of enthusiastic conservatives watched the eleven most popular Republican candidates take the stage to debate the most important issues of the election and court the Republican primary voters all over the country, including those within the large classroom in Nevins Hall.

The debate opened into what can only be described as “personal” issues, with candidates taking swings at each other. This was quite in contrast with sophomore, Calab Leon’s hope that candidates would show “something real—policy ideas, not just political tricks.” However, this did not last long, and the candidates quickly began to turn to serious issues.

Foreign policy loomed large with real differences emerging between those on stage. Candidates such as Senator Paul and Governor Kasich took moderate stances, with Paul emphasizing that interventionism had made America less safe and Kasich discussing the importance of alliances. Cruz and Fiorina, in contrast, pushed the primacy of an ever-stronger military and the expansions needed.

In domestic policy, social issues loomed very large in the debate—in particular, Planned Parenthood. All candidates agreed that Planned Parenthood should be defunded and federal and state money should instead be routed to other womens’ health services. Candidates such as Governors Bush, Walker, Christie and Huckabee emphasized their pro-life records in their states. The main difference between candidates was that some candidates, such as Senator Cruz, were willing to risk a government shutdown. Most however, said that such risks would be catastrophic to the country and the Republican Party.

Immigration was also a vital issue in the debate. A powerful voice here was Senator Rubio who claimed that not only did the border need to be secured, but the legal immigration system had to be fixed and friendlier to the immigrants we need like engineers. There were also disagreements regarding deportation, with some candidates like Bush and Carson supporting paths to citizenship, and others like Trump and Cruz supporting complete deportation.

Another major element of the debate was economics. Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump sparred over their business careers with issues such as Trump’s bankruptcies and Fiorina’s firing from Hewlett-Packard being brought up. More importantly though, was issues of taxation and the minimum wage. Most candidates did not support raising the minimum wage. In regards to taxation, many candidates such as Senator Paul and Dr. Carson supported flat tax proposals, while candidates like Donald Trump supported a progressive tax like we have today with higher earners paying a larger percentage of income in taxes.

This is only a brief overview of an exciting three-hour debate. It cannot be emphasized enough that watching this debate is absolutely crucial to making an informed decision in this election. However, if one thing is certain, it is that among conservatives like those of the Valdosta State College Republicans, the race is far from over and decisions far from made.

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