The GOP debate prior to the Iowa caucus has come and gone, but will be a subject of discussion for a long time. The events of the night was marked by the absence of 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”.
Trump still present despite absence at the debate
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 according to Washington post absence gave his rivals the chance to steal the show as they struggled with limited success to outshine one another.
Republicans fight the ‘Trump urge’
The republican candidates tried as much as possible to ignore Trump in the debate. 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. 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, and was accompanied at the event by two of his rivals, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, two former winners of the Iowa Republican presidential caucus.