During the third Republican debate, tensions reached new heights as Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy clashed in a battle of words. The two children of Indian immigrants had exchanged barbs in previous debates, but their confrontation on Wednesday took a shocking turn, with Haley calling Ramaswamy “scum” after he made a derogatory comment about her daughter.
Ramaswamy has been a fierce presence in all three debates, dominating the stage with her aggressive style. However, her attacks on fellow candidates, including Haley, seem to have alienated potential voters. Despite this, her presence has drowned out the other candidates and put them on the defensive.
The absence of former President Donald Trump, a favorite in the race, was keenly felt during the debate. With the Iowa caucuses approaching, the candidates are under pressure to emerge as a clear alternative to Trump. However, their attempts have been overshadowed by a lack of direct confrontation with the former president.
The debate also delved into foreign policy issues, with the contenders offering unanimous support for Israel while saying little about the protection of Palestinian civilians. The division within the Republican Party over foreign policy became apparent when discussions turned to the war in Ukraine and the possibility of a confrontation between China and Taiwan.
The contenders also faced tough questions about the future of abortion rights, with Haley offering a softer and more personal approach to the issue compared to her male counterparts. Her message, while not aligned with the Republican base, may resonate with some suburban women, a demographic the GOP has struggled to win over in recent elections.
Overall, the debate highlighted the lack of a clear path to victory for the Republican candidates, with Trump remaining the dominant figure in the race. As the candidates continue to jockey for position, it remains to be seen if any of them can emerge as a viable alternative to the former president.