From Trump to Bush: Where The 5th GOP Debate Can Take Us
Matthew Dowd and LZ Granderson preview the final GOP debate of 2015.
By ALANA ABRAMSON
December 16, 2015, 2:10 AM
• 4 min read
-- It is the fifth -- and final -- GOP debate of 2015. With less than 50 days to go until the Iowa caucuses, the stakes are higher than ever. ABC News contributors LZ Granderson and Matthew Dowd discuss the current state of the field as tonight’s showdown gets underway.
Donald Trump (and his controversial policy) takes center stageAs shown by tonight’s undercard debate, the focus of this debate will be on fighting terrorism and maintaining homeland security. The real estate mogul still leads the polls, and will take the center spot on the stage. But this time, so will his recent policy proposal that the US government temporarily ban all Muslims. His pronouncement has drawn bipartisan condemnation, but he remains popular with voters, leading some to think that his views may not be so anti-establishment. “It’s getting more and more difficult for Republicans to say he isn’t representing the establishment views,” Dowd said.
Trump has a new challenger in CruzFor the first time, Sen. Ted Cruz finds himself standing next to Trump, just days after a Des Moines/Register Bloomberg poll shows him leading Trump in Iowa by 10 points. Cruz, however, has been careful not to criticize Trump in public. So will that change tonight? Neither Granderson nor Dowd think that is likely to happen, with Dowd noting Cruz is more likely to attack the moderator, CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Rubio Needs to ImpressLike Cruz, Rubio is a first-term senator, a young upshot on the rise who vying for the nomination. But both Dowd and Granderson think Rubio is under some pressure to gain momentum, but speaks like a classic politician, putting him at a disadvantage in an election cycle where voters are leaning heavily towards anti-establishment candidates.
Jeb BushOnce viewed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign as her general election competitor, Bush keeps sinking in the polls, despite a huge cash advantage. What does he have to do tonight? Both agree that, although he is among the most knowledgeable candidates in the field, he can’t do much, due to the fact that he simply has trouble campaigning. “He’s dead and gone,” said Granderson. Dowd agreed. “He’s on life support,” Dowd added.