The Republican debate of Thursday night was held without the Republican front runner, Donald Trump, who held his own rally, and whose absence gave the other Republican candidates an opportunity to discuss and debate issues. There are diverse opinions about the debate, while some see it as favoring Trump, some see it as favoring his rivals ahead of the Iowa caucuses. “Trump was gone but not forgotten,” said Mark Z Barabak, Michael Finnegan and Seema Mehta in the LA Times. But they said the debate “seemed unlikely to dramatically recast the race ahead of Monday’s Iowa caucuses”. A number of newspaper commentators appear to agree that although the Iowa debate was “Trump-free”, he was still a big presence. “It turns out that Donald Trump can dominate a debate even if he doesn’t show up on stage,” wrote Susan Page. Trump’s absence gave his rivals the chance to steal the show as they struggled with limited success to outshine one another.
Debaters avoid mentioning Trump
At the debate, republican candidates avoided bringing Donald Trump into their issues being discussed. There were few occasions where he was being referenced by his rivals. Trump is still in the lead towards the Iowa caucuses, a cause for concern for his close rivals, senator ed Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio. According to the BBC, no one bothered to make a case as to why Trump should not be the nominee, even though he has led the national polls for months, and he holds bigger leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Trump held rally near debate venue
The Republican front runner decided to boycott the Fox News debate in protest for being “treated unfairly” in the last debate by Megyn Kelly, co-moderator of the debate. Trump held a parallel event for veterans, at a place close to the venue of the GOP debate. He was accompanied at the event by two of his rivals, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, who are nstruggling to make an impact in the presidential race.