USA: US election campaign: Another Republican TV debate canceled

Imagine it’s a television debate and no one is going: it’s not just former US President Trump who refuses to take part in the usual TV rounds with internal party competitors during the election campaign. Another one also stands in the way.

A few days before the next primary election in the US state of New Hampshire, another planned television debate between the Republican presidential candidates was canceled – due to a lack of participants. When asked, the television station CNN announced that the round that was actually planned for Sunday evening (Monday night CET) would be canceled because only one of the candidates who qualified had confirmed their participation.

A television debate by another broadcaster planned for this Thursday had previously been canceled at short notice for the same reason.

The background: Former US President Donald Trump, who is well ahead in the Republican field in polls and won the first primary election in the state of Iowa a few days ago by a landslide, has been refusing to take part in TV debates during the election campaign with his internal party competitors for months to take the stage. Most recently, only Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, and the former US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, took part in the rounds from the very shrunken field of applicants. After the vote in Iowa, Haley announced that without competitor Trump she would no longer take part in any further TV debates. Since Trump was completely unimpressed and only DeSantis remained, the two debates are now canceled.

Bad for Ron DeSantis

Politically, this is particularly damaging to DeSantis, who urgently needed the big stage to score points before the vote in New Hampshire next Tuesday. In the state on the US east coast, Trump is also clearly in the lead in polls among the Republican presidential candidates. However, Haley has clearly caught up with the leader there, while DeSantis is far behind in the single digits.

Anyone who wants to become the Republican candidate must first win internal party votes in the individual US states. The presidential election is taking place at the beginning of November. Among the Democrats, President Joe Biden wants to run for a second term and has no serious competition as the incumbent in his party’s internal primaries.