“ Wall Street’s and investors’ rising concerns about rising U.S. debt and the deficit were not addressed directly or convincingly.”
The second Republican presidential primary debate produced three results. First, it continued the trend of the now-seven candidates minus Donald Trump painting a largely united picture of their economic policy priorities. Second, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott won the debate. Third, the candidates’ separation into top and bottom tiers is well underway, something that’s needed to further winnow the field and produce a strong not-Trump candidate.
Republican candidates again displayed a strong contrast with, and indictment of, President Joe Biden’s administration, particularly Bidenomics and the “green New Deal.” Many are trying to make a policy break from Trump by arguing that runaway spending by both Biden and Trump caused the inflation that make worse the wage pressures that, among other things, caused the UAW auto strike. Markets and investors also heard more pledges to restore and expand economic dynamism, while some signature Biden bipartisan policies weren’t attacked, including greater infrastructure investment, semiconductor investment and reshoring manufacturing. Wall Street’s and investors’ rising concerns about rising U.S. debt and the deficit were referred to frequently, but the candidates didn’t address it directly or convincingly. While Washington incompetence was a frequent theme, the Moody’s ‘crisis of governance’ negatively affecting markets wasn’t addressed. Republican candidates went into the second debate wanting to continue two trends: increasing their “favorables” — positive perceptions of them by potential voters — and increasing ‘openness’ to voting for them. Each candidate on the stage achieved both in the first debate, and most likely did so in the second. One candidate who didn’t have these increases after the first debate: Trump, thanks both to attacks and his absence.