The Fifth Republican debate was marked by the rivalry between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, with nobody trying to stand up to frontrunner Donald Trump, except for Jeb Bush in a an attempt to save his crumbling campaign.
The last Republican debate of this year was hosted by CNN and held at the Venetian casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two hour prime time debate included businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, corporate executive Carly Fiorina, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. There was no place at the main stage for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and former New York Governor George Pataki, who were participants in the underdog debate earlier in the night.
The debate was the first one after the Paris terrorist attacks where 130 were killed by the Islamic State extremists and after the San Bernardino, California shooting where radicalized Muslims killed 14 people. Due to that fact, the debate mainly centered on issues concerning national security, military strategies for defeating the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, the Syrian refugee crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
The highlights of the night included former Governor Jeb Bush attacking Trump for being un-American in making his statement for banning Muslims from entering the United States and according to Reuters, said “Donald is great at the on-liners, but he is a chaos candidate and he would be a chaos President.” Trump took the chance to note Bush’s failing campaign and low poll support and stated “Oh yeah, and you are a tough guy, Bush.”
None of the other candidates took the chance to attack Trump, knowing that he is very blunt in his responses. Ted Cruz even rejected an opportunity to attack him when asked by the moderators, thus pushing the buddy act they have going on.
On the other hand, Cruz took to Rubio, with whom they share similar conservative backing. According to Reuters, Cruz has been proposing “carpet-bombing” and said “ISIS is gaining strength because the perception is that they are winning, and President Obama fuels that perception. That would change when militants across the globe see that when you join ISIS you are giving up your life.” However, Rubio noted that Cruz voted against the defense authorization bills and supported defense cuts, making bombing impractical. He said “You cannot carpet bomb ISIS if you don’t have planes or bombs to attack them with.”
This was the fifth and last GOP debate of 2015, with two more scheduled debates before the 1st of February nominating contests in Iowa, ahead of the 2016 Elections. The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll from the 7th of December shows that Trump is still leading the pack with 33 percent of support; Cruz is behind him with 15 percent and Carson at 12 percent. The others are trailing behind, which was reflected in the Tuesday night’s debate.