Nikki Haley has been in the running longer than anyone else on stage, but she hasn’t had a breakout moment yet. She clearly aimed to change that tonight, and she had one of the most memorable back-and-forths of the night when she criticized Ramaswamy for her lack of experience in foreign policy. She came out early not only against Biden but also against Republicans in Congress, and was one of the few contenders to make an electability argument against Trump by pointing out his low favorability ratings. But for a candidate polling at 3.4 percent nationally, it’s not obvious that was enough.
Burgum’s presence was in itself a victory for the governor, given his injury today. But he had little time to talk, and his most interesting response, when he came out definitively against a national abortion ban, is not likely to win him many new supporters in the Republican Party.
But this is what I really think. The next debate won’t be for another month, but tomorrow Donald Trump will surrender to the authorities in Atlanta. His mugshot will bounce around the Internet and appear on the front page of every major newspaper in the country. At that point, will people talk about tonight’s debate? Or will they talk about Trump again? I’d put my money on the latter, and that’s not good news for anyone on stage tonight.
–Analysis by Jacob Rubashkin, Internal Elections