The fourth Republican debate is just hours away, and if the last three were any indication, then you're probably pretty pumped about this next one. Each time we've seen these candidates convene onstage to duke it out, we've been treated to a series of one-liners, not-so-subtle slights, and, most recently, a near mutiny against the moderators. Now that Tuesday's debate, as well as the undercard event, are upon us, the question you should be asking is not what can you expect, but what can't you expect? From an increasingly unhinged Ben Carson to the perpetually crazy Donald Trump (who just hosted SNL on Saturday), there are many reasons the Fox Business Republican debate will be a must-watch.
In October, Fox Business Network released the criteria for its debate, requiring primetime candidates to score 2.5 percent or higher in an average of four national polls recognized by Fox Business (through Nov. 4) and undercard debaters to score at least one percent in one of the four polls. Based on these requirements, the next two events will see the biggest shakeups onstage, which certainly makes the "happy hour" debate more enticing. As for the main event, there will be plenty to watch for there too, especially after Fox Business made like a candidate and released an attack ad on the last debate host, CNBC. When you talk that kind of talk, then you better be able to do one hell of a walk.
Those are just a few of the reasons why you'll want to tune in to the Fox Business GOP debate. Here are all seven reasons, not least is the candidates' takes on economic policy (that's why we're really here, right?).
Both Debates Will Have A New Line-Up
After the most recent polls, two of the mainstays on the prime time stage have been knocked off and relegated to the kiddie table: Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee. That leaves Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Rand Paul. With two people out, the remaining candidates will likely have less to contend with, but hopefully this will mean less squabbling and more substance — quality over quantity.
As for the undercard event, the addition of Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee should stir things up. Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore have been knocked off the debate roster altogether after failing to receive enough support in the polls. The completely new lineup of Christie, Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum will bring a fresh dynamic — and hopefully new feuds — to the underdog event.
Trump Will Be Fresh Off SNL
The debate comes just three days after Trump hosted SNL, a performance that some critics say fell flat. It will be interesting to see the juxtaposition of Trump the deliberate entertainer (who apparently failed to entertain) and Trump the accidental entertainer (as a candidate, he never fails to give us fodder). Ultimately, he could leave us with the impression that he's a clown everywhere but where he's supposed to be.
Fox Will Be Expected To Deliver After Its Attack Ad
Usually the snark is reserved for the candidates themselves, but Fox Business Network felt inclined to join the fun. After the CNBC debate, which was widely regarded as disastrous, Fox Business poured salt on the wound with an attack ad claiming that "CNBC never asked the real questions, never covered the real issues." Then they called their event the "real debate about our economy." That's a pretty high bar that Fox Business has set for itself. Viewers are no doubt curious to see if they can deliver.
The Candidates Might Be More Brazen With Moderators
Another effect that the last debate had was the brief unity among the candidates in protest of the CNBC moderators and general debate format. Coming off of their indignation, the candidates might be even testier than ever this time around.
Candidates Have More Speaking Time
Fox Business has significantly extended candidates' speaking times. They will now have 90 seconds to answer a question and 60 seconds to rebut, whereas previously they only had 60 seconds to answer and 30 to rebut. Whether this means the debate will go more smoothly because there will be less going overtime and less interruptions remains to be seen. The longer speaking times could also easily add more fuel to the already high tensions onstage.
After the week he's had, during which multiple outlets dug up questionable information about Carson, many viewers will be eager to see whether moderators will address any of these past gaffes. The normally calm Carson has started simmering in the last week, and it'd be quite a sight to see him boil over when asked about those pesky pyramids.
Oh yeah, and then there's the candidates' economic policies. That's perhaps another important reason to tune in.