Eight candidates will square off at the first Republican Presidential Primary debate for the 2024 election. Former President Donald Trump will not be participating, as he enjoys a large lead in every major poll. Rather than risk any debate gaffes, Trump has opted to join former Fox News host Tucker Carlson for an interview.
Trump can afford to take the risk of appearing fearful, because Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the only potential rival to enjoy double-digit support in polls. Gov. DeSantis' campaign team has publicly acknowledged that they expect to take the brunt of attacks throughout the debate. DeSantis is embracing the moment as the leading contender for the party nomination, despite the fact that he will be the target of seven other candidates who are in desperate need of a media attention for an ultimate increase of support.
Other candidates will include Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota; former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; former Ambassador Nikki Haley; former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas; former Vice President Mike Pence; Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur; and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Anyone who has been following this primary can easily predict that DeSantis will be defending his record most of the night, but he are a few more predictions about the lesser-known candidates:
Vivek Ramaswamy: Will Defend Comments on Historic Events, Portray Himself as Only True Outsider
With the exception of Tim Scott, no other candidate has enjoyed as much hype as a potential Trump alternative (Or VP pick). Recent momentum slowed this week, after he was caught on tape making comments about 9/11 and Jan. 6 that he previously denied saying. Expect Ramaswamy to distinguish himself form DeSantis by highlighting his business background.
Nikki Haley: Will refrain from attacking Trump, and devote most of her time to highlighting her out background as an underdog reformer with a winning record throughout her political campaign career.
Tim Scott: Will call out Haley for quitting her role as U.N. Ambassador under Trump, and play nice with most of the other candidates other than DeSantis.
Mike Pence: The former Vice President will tout his consistent record on social issues, defend his decision to certify the 2020 election results on Jan. 6, and stress the need for reducing or eliminating the role of the U.S. Department of Education.
Chris Christie: New Jersey's former governor will devote almost all of his time to criticizing Donald Trump's actions and behavior in the White House.
Asa Hutchinson: Expect the former Arkansas governor to continue his criticism of Trump. As one of only two candidates in this debate who are directly courting "Never Trump" Republicans, Hutchinson is likely to attempt to differentiate himself from Christie by highlighting his more recent accomplishments in his final term compared to the messy finish to Christie's final term, including the "Bridgegate" scandal.
Doug Burgum: Will highlight his business career and North Dakota's growth as proof that he's more qualified than fellow businessman, Vivek Ramaswamy.