From Trump to Bush - your bluffer's guide to tonight's Republican debate

Donald Trump will be there and, god only knows, what he will say - but there are nine other loose cannons onstage too.

From Trump to Bush - your bluffer's guide to tonight's Republican debate

Tonight, Fox News

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They represent the best of Republican America, a diverse group of men and women from different races and socio-economic backgrounds.

Just kidding - it’s mostly made up of the usual bunch of old rich white men sticking strongly to the GOP script.

The candidates were chosen based on an average of the five most recent national polls and will debate the issues, fling barbed insults and likely do a bit of shouting in a bid to show who’s the most presidential of them all.

The stage looks set to be full of strong personalities who are no stranger to controversy - but if you’re not sure who’s who, we’ve put together a quick guide to each candidate and their most talked-about political moments.

Donald Trump

The man who needs no introduction… it’s Donald Truuuuumppp!

The improbable front-runner, the billionaire businessman who has been entertaining and scaring the electorate as he careers from one gaffe to the next, Trump has been enjoying the lion’s share of media coverage in the run-up to Republican primary.

It would be impossible to collect all of his bluster in one place but in recent weeks, he has managed to

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His much-debated hair must be made of Teflon, as none of these have made a dent in the opinion polls - he’s still the most popular candidate with the support of 26% of the voters in the latest Fox News poll.

A soundbyte-generating machine, the 69-year-old is likely to be the star of the show tonight, and with no real political experience, he’ll looking to shout his way through the debate to make up for his complete lack of any policies, or experience in debating.

And wouldn’t you know, as he’s the most popular in the polls, he gets to sit smack-bang in the middle of the podium. What a treat.

"These politicians, all they do is debate," he told Fox News, saying he's "not really" rehearsing.

"I think you have to be yourself."

While an obviously, eh, unpredictable choice for the leader of the free world, there’s a little part of us that wants to see how far he can go.

Jeb Bush

The latest member of the Bush dynasty to make a play for the White House, Jeb, brother of Dubya, follows Trump in the polls at 12%.

Married to a Mexican-American and a fluent Spanish speaker, the former Florida governor will have a strong appeal to Hispanic voters.

But Bush put his foot in his mouth earlier this week when he attacked Planned Parenthood, saying "I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues."

Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, pounced on him and he issued a statement, saying he "misspoke".

He’s also aware of the drawbacks of his famous surname and has moved to distance himself, acknowledging there "were mistakes made" during the war in Iraq.

Scott Walker

The governor of Wisconsin is widely seen as a frontrunner in the race, tying consistently in the polls with Bush.

Although worryingly evasive when it comes to answering questions over whether he believes in evolution, saying it is “a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or the other,” he has strong support from all Republican factions for his crushing of the public sector unions in Wisconsin.

Mike Huckabee

While passing himself off as a gee-whiz folksy hero, Huckabee raised eyebrows back in in the past when he mocked transgender people during a speech.

The former governor of Arkansas previously ran in 2008 and he was endorsed by none other than Chuck Norris himself. Huckabee has since carved out a career as a Fox News presenter where he suggested that he wouldn’t be above sending in armed troops or the FBI to stop abortions.

And as well as playing bass in a cover band called Capital Offences, he also wrote a book called – no lie – God, Guns, Grits and Gravy. In his book, he memorably criticised Beyonce for her “explicit (dance) moves best left for the privacy of her bedroom” and compared her husband Jay Z to a pimp.

Gee whiz indeed.

Ben Carson

A former pediatric neurosurgeon — who has never run for elected office, and the only African-American in the running – Carson is beloved of the Tea Party and really does not like the current president.

Raised in poverty in Detroit, he studied at Yale and became one of the world’s most celebrated surgeons. He was the first doctor to separate twins conjoined at the head.

However, he has caused controversies, such as earlier this year when he called homosexuality a choice "because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay."

He backed down from his remarks after some backlash. He has also compared America under Obama to Nazi Germany.

Ted Cruz

In this video, which is unfortunately quite real, Cruz appeals to that subsection of voters who love both guns and bacon by demonstrating the useful skill of cooking strips of bacon with machine gun fire.

Yup, that’s what you want as Commander-In-Chief right there.

Cruz was also instrumental in the costly and lengthy Republican government shutdown in 2013. And his favourite footwear is his "argument boots" - a pair of black ostrich-skin cowboy boots.

Marco Rubio

A Cuban-American,Rubio often recounts how his parents fled Castro in the 70s. Awkwardly, it has since turned out they left Cuba before Castro came to power but still, details…

Like Jeb Bush, Rubio is from Florida and considers Bush his mentor. He hopes to draw the Latino vote away from the Democrats and to appeal to the youth vote.

Rand Paul

The son of Ron, who ran in 2012, Rand Paul is one of the more interesting candidates.

The libertarian 52-year-old senator for Kentucky appeals to the Republican base for his opposition to big government and abortion, but he is also in favour of more relaxed drug laws and decreased militarisation of the police.

Oh and he recently took a chainsaw to the tax code, presumably as some sort of metaphor.

Chris Christie

The Governor of New Jersey is another man who likes to shout, especially at teachers.

You might recognise him from his handling of Hurricane Sandy and from his association with

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Christie was praised for how he dealt with Sandy - and he even managed to get along with the Republican nemesis, President Obama.

John Kasich

Considered one of the more serious candidates, former Lehman Brothers executive Kasich is getting drowned out by the bombastics of the other, louder, candidates.

Praised for his work with black communities in his state and for his ability to negotiate with Democrats, the Ohio Governor is a nine-term member of Congress with years of experience and is considered a moderate.

He’s also liable to give slightly kooky, rambling speeches - such as the time he mentioned his "hot wife", the time he cried, and called Californians “a bunch of wackadoodles”.

That's what you get when you don’t write your speech down before you start.

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