In a daring move following the second GOP primary debate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) extended a bold challenge to former President Donald Trump for a one-on-one debate. The proposition was made during a Fox Business Network post-debate interview with host Sean Hannity. DeSantis suggested Hannity moderate the proposed debate between himself and Trump, highlighting the importance of presenting their cases to the voters.
“Let’s do it!” DeSantis exclaimed during the interview.
Debate Unlikely To Help Or Harm Trump
Dr. Mitchell Brown, the Curtis O. Liles III Professor at Auburn University’s Department of Political Science poured cold water on the idea, telling 19FortyFive that, “Trump has no incentive right now to debate anyone given how he is polling—it is all down-side risk. He would likely have to either answer or dodge some uncomfortable questions.
“I imagine his team doesn’t want him in a position where he might be made angry or respond unpredictably. That said, I cannot imagine him doing or saying anything in a debate that would dissuade his base or significantly alter how he is polling right now,” she went on.
Trump’s Absence: Winners and Losers of the Second Republican Debate
Despite Trump’s absence from the debate, a DailyMail.com poll has already declared him the winner, citing his continued significant influence within the Republican base. However, the poll also highlighted DeSantis’ strong performance, portraying him as the most ‘presidential’ and ‘competent’ among the candidates who participated. DeSantis utilized the platform to emphasize his leadership capabilities as the Governor of Florida.
While Trump remained absent, his dominance within the Republican electorate was evident, with a substantial portion of viewers declaring him the night’s victor. The poll showcased tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy in close competition and DeSantis securing a notable position.
Calls for Trump’s Participation and Evaluation of Candidates
DeSantis and other candidates criticized Trump for avoiding the debate stage, urging him to participate and defend his record. Their call reflects the ongoing struggle to reshape the dynamics of the primary contest dominated by Trump. Trump’s campaign has emphasized his leading position in polls, deeming his attendance unnecessary, resulting in a fragmented debate stage without the clear front-runner.
The debate showcased varying opinions on candidates’ performance, emphasizing their strengths and weaknesses. DeSantis stood out as ‘competent’ and ‘presidential,’ garnering favorable impressions from a portion of the Republican viewers.
Donald Trump’s Reluctance to Join Debates
Trump’s hesitancy to participate in the primary debates appears to stem from his significant lead in polls and alleged discontent with the network hosting the events. This reluctance has prompted DeSantis and others to seek a direct debate with Trump to provide voters with a comprehensive understanding of their platforms and policies.
As the Republican primary race unfolds, candidates seek to carve their path and define their vision for the nation, aiming to resonate with the party base and beyond. The possibility of a one-on-one debate between DeSantis and Trump remains uncertain, leaving the political arena abuzz with anticipation and speculation regarding future interactions among candidates.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.