That’s a wrap, folks. Now you can watch the end of Game 2 of the World Series. Or, if you’re reading this after the fact, you can start at the bottom of this live blog, scroll up and experience the joys and heartbreak of the third Republican debate in real time.
Or, if you’re a person who likes to skim, here are a few highlights:
- The ancient art of criticizing a legislator for missing votes while running for president was on full display. The target: Marco Rubio.
- Rubio and Ted Cruz (and many other candidates) went after the mainstream media. That’s a smart political move: Republicans, and all Americans, don’t like the media.
- The labor force participation rate was debated.
- As were nitty-gritty tax plan details.
- Nate argued that Jeb Bush’s struggles aren’t simply the result of negative media.
- Oh, and there was an undercard debate; we live-blogged that too.
You can also check out Nate Silver’s post-debate analysis: Jeb Bush is probably toast.
One thing we didn’t hear much about tonight, at least directly? The middle class. Politicians of both parties usually love to talk about the middle class and, lately, its struggles. But the Republican candidates tonight seemed to spend more time talking about poverty — and how the number of poor has risen under Obama — than the middle class. According to a preliminary transcript of the debate, “poverty” and “poor” got 11 references tonight; the middle class just seven. (Jeb Bush got both terms into his closing remarks.)
Trump was one of the candidates to push for this debate to be shorter, and he was one of the candidates to suffer for it. He and Bush both got far fewer questions from the moderators than they did last time around. Overall, the moderators gave out questions much more evenly than moderators did last time.
Marco Rubio cites the need to revive the American Dream, but social mobility in America is not significantly worse than a generation ago. It is, however, lower than in many other nations … a different analysis, which this debate didn’t touch.
A few minutes ago Carly Fiorina mentioned “zero based budgeting.” What’s so interesting about that is that it was an idea last trumpeted by Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Indeed, the only time a poll mentioned “zero based budgeting” in the Roper Center Archive was in 2007. Back then, it was called a “Democratic proposal.”
Trump touted his role in limiting the debate to two hours. Moderator John Harwood: “Just for the record, the debate was always going to be two hours.” Whoever’s right, the debate has gone past two hours.
I think Christie’s been reasonably good tonight, and it’s not out of the question that he could gain a point or two in the polls. But that, too, might come at Jeb Bush’s expense, since they have similar policy positioning but Christie is a little more [sorry] high-energy than Jeb.
The Affordable Care Act has succeeded in getting millions more Americans health insurance. But there are still 33 million U.S. residents without coverage. Who are they? About 7 million are noncitizen immigrants. Millions more are young people who have decided not to get coverage.
But millions of others live in states that have refused to expand Medicaid as originally expected under Obamacare. Those states have much higher rates of uninsurance, across the board, than states that did expand Medicaid.
Trump said CNBC agreed to his request to limit the length of the debate to two hours. Did the clock start at 8 p.m. or when the debate started, 10 or 15 minutes later? Even if it’s the latter, we’re close to pushing past the two-hour mark, and closing statements are starting only now.
Medicare turned 50 this year, and the program has been pretty darn popular throughout its life — it’s hard to see what candidates win by speaking out against it. Even Ben Carson, who for several years has talked about cutting Medicaid and Medicare, recently changed his tune. The most recent iteration of his plan doesn’t lose those programs, but would give people health savings accounts of $2,000 a year per person. Carson says this will be so much better than Medicaid and Medicare that people will voluntarily leave those programs. As The New York Times explained yesterday, the proposal is incredibly confusing and could easily cost more than existing programs.
Fiorina is getting plenty of speaking time this debate. Seems like she’s OK to me.
I think she’s been fine. But the rest of the field has been sharper as a group. (And her first win was in the JV debate, which is like beating up on the Columbia Lions.) Perhaps also there’s the feeling in the room (and more to the point, among the media) that debates are Fiorina’s only real trick, and she doesn’t have the campaign apparatus to sustain any momentum she gets out of them.
Is this the first GOP debate that Fiorina hasn’t dominated?
By the way, those same demographic headwinds I just mentioned are a big part of the reason that few economists think Jeb Bush’s 4 percent growth pledge is realistic. Retiring boomers mean fewer workers, which will restrain economic growth.
Huckabee is such a believer in the potential for curing diseases — which he says is the way to save on health-care spending — that he has been a paid endorser for treatments some experts find dubious.
Rand Paul is right that the retirement of the baby-boom generation poses big challenges for the federal budget, and for the U.S. economy in general. But there’s some good news: millennials! Millennials are the largest generation in American history, and they’re now entering the workforce in big numbers. In the short term, the retirement of the boomers will swamp the entrance of the millennials. But over the longer run, the U.S. is in far better shape than Japan or many European countries, which also have lots of retirees but don’t have as many young people coming up to replace them.
With clock almost out, still no substantive convo about global economies — particularly China and eurozone and how they interact with our domestic economy in a globalized world.
Christie got a lot of applause for ridiculing the conversation about fantasy football prompted by a question to Bush. ” Wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt, people out of work, ISIS and Al Qaeda attacking us and we’re talking about fantasy football? Can we stop?” Christie was happy to talk about his fantasy football team in an interview with the Star-Ledger in 2013. “My quarterback in that league is Joe Flacco and in my other league, which I’m in with — it’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton’s league — I’m in their league, and Aaron Rodgers is my quarterback in that league.”
John Kasich was asked what he’d do about rising student loan debt, and so was Jeb Bush. The levels of education debt are indeed exploding: The median amount for 18- to 33-year olds was more than $15,000 in 2013, up from about $6,000 in 1990.
Carly Fiorina is right that more companies are shutting down. And it’s also true that new business formations are falling, as Marco Rubio mentioned earlier. But it’s hard to blame those trends on “Obamacare” — the decline in entrepreneurship is a decades-old problem that long predates Obama or the Affordable Care Act.
No one is sure why the startup rate is falling, but the decline has mirrored similar trends in labor participation, job turnover and geographic mobility (how often people move between cities). Economists worry that suggests the U.S. economy is losing the flexibility that helped fuel its past growth.
There’s probably no single policy that would help reverse those trends. Still, I’m glad to see the problem finally entering into mainstream political discourse.
Interesting that the first time race and policing came up was not via a journalist question but roundabout via Christie. Christie said that President Obama “failed” police, and that under a Christie presidency “police officers will know they will have the support of the president of the United States.” He introduced this by referencing the FBI director’s musings that viral videos and reaction to Ferguson had dampened police response and raised crime. The only problem: There’s no evidence of a causal link, and the White House made a point of quickly and publicly distancing itself from the remarks.
It’s not a break in the debate action, but we have to give another World Series update now: Here come the Royals! After setting down the Mets quickly in the top of the fifth, KC scored four runs in the bottom of the inning to make the score 4-1. Now it’s on to the sixth in Kansas City …
Christie cited the argument by FBI Director James Comey that a so-called Ferguson effect is chilling police work, as police officers retreat from their work because of increased scrutiny of it. But Comey also said he has no concrete evidence of such an effect, and some criminologists question its existence.
Maybe I’m just itching to watch the baseball game, but it seems like all that mattered in the debate — Bush losing his exchange with Rubio, Cruz and Rubio getting their shots in at the media — happened in the first 30 minutes and that everything has been pretty dull since.
Ben, you’re right that these tax plans would benefit the wealthiest Americans. But that won’t alienate most Republican primary voters. In a Pew poll released earlier this month, just 31 percent of possible Republican primary voters said that they would be more likely to support a candidate who wants to raise taxes on the wealthy. And 34 percent said they would be less likely to support a candidate who wants to raise taxes on the wealthy. The divide does fall along ideological lines: At 39 percent, liberal Republican voters are more likely than conservative Republican voters (27 percent) to fall in the former category.