President Trump to skip third debate with Florida rally

 October 23, 2023

President Trump will hold a MAGA rally during the third Republican primary debate on November 8. 

Trump has been boycotting the debates, citing his formidable lead over distant primary challengers.

Trump skips again

Trump's rally in Hialeah, Florida will take place just half an hours' drive from the debate at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

The debate is hosted by NBC News; the previous two were hosted by Fox.

Trump skipped the first debate for an interview with Tucker Carlson. During the second debate, Trump gave a speech to striking autoworkers in Michigan, playing up his populist appeal.

DeSantis tumbles

Last month's debate in California was widely considered a chaotic mess, with no decisive breakout candidate.

Trump gave a disparaging assessment of various rivals, including "bird brain" Nikki Haley and Florida governor Ron DeSantis, whom Trump said has been "dropping like a rock."

DeSantis - once regarded as Trump's biggest and perhaps only primary threat - tied with Haley in a sobering new Emerson poll that saw DeSantis slip into the single digits. DeSantis pulled eight percent, while Trump surged ahead with a whopping 59 percent.

With each debate, the qualifications tighten. The only candidates to qualify for the third debate so far are DeSantis, Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy, who has also floated skipping.

Time to cancel?

Trump's formidable lead has many believing that a rematch with Joe Biden is all but assured.

Trump has urged the GOP to cancel the debates and focus on defeating Biden, whose administration is attempting to put Trump in prison. Despite an indictment blitz, Trump is polling competitively with his rival.

The Emerson poll found that Trump is leading Biden by two points. Trump is also leading with young voters by two points.

“While the poll reflects voters under 30 breaking for Biden by significant margins in 2020, 45% of voters under 30 support Trump in 2024 in this survey while 43% support Biden,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said.

“These voters are most likely to be undecided among all age groups, at 12%. Even with progressive candidate Bernie Sanders on the ballot, the election is statistically similar among this group, 45% supporting Sanders and 42% Trump."

Trump's primary challengers have blasted his absence as cowardice, but it doesn't appear to be hurting him.

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