The stage is all set for a third Republican debate on Wednesday, with 14 candidates -- two from the starting 16 dropped out after the last debate -- to take part, but in changed circumstances.
Donald Trump, the seemingly unstoppable real estate tycoon, is looking a lot more vulnerable after being knocked off the top position by Ben Carson in the newest nation poll.
But Trump continues to lead nationwide in Real Clear Politics’ aggregate of polls, and in several states, though followed closely by the soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon, Carson.
The rest, including Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, are under increasing pressure to aggressively seek their breakout moments, and not just wait for it.
Bush, for instance, is having a really bad time. He cut campaign budget and staff recently, whined about being “demonised”, and is battling perception that he is really not up to it.
The candidates will appear in two separate groups as before—top 10 in polls in the first, prime-time slot, and the rest in what has been called the “undercard” or “kiddie-table” round.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, the only Indian-American to ever run for the White House, remains in the “kiddie-table” round despite having done generally well in the last debate.
Trump, however, is likely to remain the focus of the debate again—a chief target for his rivals eager to proves themselves, and the man to watch for pundits still dismayed by his rise.
The real estate tycoon is also expected to feel at home at this debate being hosted by the financial news TV network channel CNBC, which has had a long association with him.
It has featured him in many times in some of tis marquee shows—such as CNBC Titans—and re-ran his popular reality-TV show ‘The Apprentice’, originally aired by sister channel NBC.
Hosts of the debate, who have tended to get star treatment themselves this election cycle, have said in interviews they will focus on economic and financial issue mostly.
Viewers in India can watch the debate live early Thursday.