Fort Worth

North Texan Voters Weigh in on Republican Debate

Voters tuning into the Republican Presidential debate Thursday night heard their fair share of name calling and shouting between candidates on stage.  

It was the eleventh time the Republican contenders for president have come together to talk issues, and this meeting seemed to be the most contentious one to date.

“My Dad and I said it was like watching an SNL skit, watching a bunch of little kids up there scratching and fighting,” said Crystal Gillis, who works in Fort Worth.

As the race narrows, Gillis has been paying closer attention to each candidate. But after Thursday’s debate, she really wasn’t sure who to support.

“Time is ticking and nobody wants to hear about you fighting,” she explained. “They want to hear what you're actually going to do.”

The divisiveness in Washington has played a large part in the contention between Republican candidates, according to Allan Saxe, a political science professor at UT Arlington. 

“The Democratic Party seems to be lurching much more to the left, the Republican Party much more to the right,” said Saxe. “So, there are these polarizations.”

Saxe equates the fighting to a bad accident. On one hand, the debates are hard to watch, but on the other hand, they have engaged voters unlike anything he has ever witnessed.

"Just like a wreckage on the highway, people stop and look. That's exactly what's going on today,” Saxe explained. “So, we can beat up on the Donald Trumps, whoever wants to, he's a good whipping boy today. But no question about it he's energized politics at this particular time, both for Democrats and especially Republicans.”

But the quarreling within the party has made it difficult to decipher between candidates for some voters.  

“What are you going to do? Why should I vote for you?” asked Laura Weisbrod.

Once a fan of Ben Carson, Weisbrod no longer knows who to pick as a nominee for the Republican Party.

“My daughter lives in Australia. I'm thinking it may be a good time to move to Australia,” she joked.

Saxe believes Republicans will eventually end the bickering and unify, however, if that doesn’t happen soon, it could cost them in the general election.

“There's nothing quite like this,” Saxe said. “This is really the Republicans’ race to lose. The irony is they could grab it, but they're killing each other.”

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