4 Depressingly Predictable Things The Second GOP Debate Will Definitely See
This Wednesday on CNN, the second GOP presidential debate will air, and while that (thankfully) means no more on-air attacks on Megyn Kelly, this second round is sure to be just as heated as the first. The 11 candidates — the debate was expanded to add Carly Fiorina, the only woman running — will gather on stage at the Reagan Presidential Library in Southern California, where the ghost of Reagan will obviously be conjured as the candidates try to out-shout front-runner Donald Trump. Yet what other topics, phrases and overall absurdity can we expect to bounce around the stage this time?
Considering the news cycle hasn't shifted all that much since early August, the second GOP debate may just be a rehashing of ultra-conservative talking points that are steadily losing their luster. If no other candidate can step up and change the narrative, Trump will shine again — a scary, yet almost inevitable, outcome at this point.
Here's the depressingly predictable things we can expect from round two of the GOP debate.
Donald Trump's Sexism
Donald Trump may not have Megyn Kelly to openly attack on Wednesday, but there's another woman he can use to display his blatant sexism. Trump will be sharing the stage with Fiorina for the first time — Fiorina was left out of the primetime debate in August — and he's already thrown out some fighting words.
In an interview with Rolling Stone published this week, Trump said of Fiorina: "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?"
Trump later attempted to backpedal on his comments, telling CNN that he wasn't talking about Fiorina's looks. "I'm talking about persona," Trump said.
Uh-huh, sure. Considering it was CNN's Chris Cuomo who laid into Trump about that comment, we can expect a comment or two about Trump's questionable attitude toward women during Wednesday's debate. Will Trump lash out at Fiorina onstage as he tries to defend himself? Probably.
Dr. Ben Carson Taking The Reins
Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon-turned-politician, has been polling quite well in Iowa, beating out more refined politicians like Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Like Trump, Carson has benefited from his "outsider" role, and we can expect him to have more of a presence in the second GOP debate.
And what will he talk about, exactly? Carson received flack over the last month after it was revealed he used aborted fetal tissue in his past medical research, so a doubling-down on his anti-Planned Parenthood stance is certain. Carson was also criticized by Trump this week for supporting abortion rights when he was a younger man. "All of a sudden he's becoming this man of faith. And he was heavy into the world of abortion," Trump said on CNN.
Of course, Carson now believes abortion doesn't impact women at all. "There is no war on women," Carson said in August at a rally in Little Rock. "There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country."
Carson has also criticized other candidates, such as Trump, for their lack of "faith." The neurosurgeon has also been polling incredibly well among Evangelists and social conservatives, who are touched by his zealous Christian devotion. On Wednesday, we could expect more of the same from the surging Carson: faith, abortion, politics!
Iran, Iran, Iran
The first debate lacked some hot-button foreign policy issues, so be prepared to hear the word "Iran" a couple dozen times on Wednesday. The polarizing Iran nuclear deal was just rejected by the U.S. House of Representatives, and is largely unpopular among conservatives. Although the House vote can't stop the White House from beginning to implement parts of the plan, the message was sent.
And mostly all of the GOP candidates are in agreement: Iran can't be trusted. Make sure to mark this on GOP bingo.
Kim Davis As A GOP Hero
When Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was released from jail this week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was at her side. The Evangelist politician, who is staunchly opposed to gay rights, has been riding the "Kim Davis wave" to the delight of social conservatives in the South and Midwest.
But Huckabee isn't the only one singing Davis' praises to the tune to "Eye of the Tiger." Cruz, a fellow gay rights opponent, also traveled down to Kentucky to show his unwavering support for Davis and his version of religious freedom. Now, that religious freedom will surely be debated on Wednesday, as Davis' refusal to abide by federal law has made her a conservative hero for those Christians who believe their rights are being violated when gay and lesbian couples obtain a marriage license. Yes, that's a convoluted mouthful — and that's the point.