The Internet Reacts to Republican Debate

Eleven candidates took the primetime stage for the second Republican primary debate Wednesday night. The three-hour marathon followed the Happy Hour debate that turned into the Lindsey Graham show. It was high on high school-style insults, Donald Trump facial expressions and Jeb Bush pot-smoking bombshells and low on in-depth conversations about how the presidential hopefuls would actually solve the issues facing our nation (Carly Fiorina tried to save us a few times). But hey, that would just make for boring TV, right CNN? Whether you hate the new made-for-TV debate style, which strangely resembles a Real Housewives reunion, or can’t get enough of it, the bottom line is: you probably watched the whole damn thing. So did the Internet. Here are the best gifs, memes and commentary from the night. Be sure to tell us what you think on Facebook, Twitter and in the comments section.

It took very little time for Trump to lodge his first insult. After Rand Paul called Trump’s constant chatter about other candidates’ appearance low-brow, the former Apprentice host showed no desire to take the high road, responding, “I never attacked him or his looks, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.”

And so, they were off. The rest of the night went lot like this:

And this:

Poor Jeb Bush.

There were some tender moments, like when Ben Carson talked about his opposition to the War in Iraq and had a brief bromance with Trump.

The two have used their statuses as Washington outsiders to gain support. Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, thinks their political inexperience is NBD. I mean, being the leader of the free world isn’t brain surgery or anything.

Really, there was only one person who could take Trump down: Fiorina. And she laid the smackdown in the second hour.

Drop the mic, girl. Even Hillary Clinton was moved from the other side of the aisle.

If there’s one thing all the candidates could agree on, it’s that if Ronald Reagan were alive today, he’d totally be their homeboy.

Bush’s energy level has been mocked incessantly by Trump over the last few weeks. Forgive him, he’s a former pot head. Wednesday wasn’t the first time he admitted to having a thing for the green stuff back (he confessed to The Boston Globe that he smoked weed and drank in high school in February), but it was still news to a lot of Americans, who quickly picked their jaws up off the floor and opened up Photoshop and Vine.


After the discussion died down and probably moved back to what Trump said about another candidate, Jeb took to the Internet himself with a message for his mom.

Tweeting mid-debate. That’s so 2015. Hey, is Barbara even on Twitter? Fiorina stepped in and saved us once again, speaking of her own experience of losing a child to drug addiction.  

In a lighter moment, candidates were asked to give their secret service names in one of the final questions of the night. Trump’s was only mildly gag worthy.

Perhaps Minnie Driver said it best…  

So who won? We asked on our Facebook page, and you told. Here are a couple of your responses:

“Santorum won the first debate with an honorable mention to Graham. Fiorina, Huckabee, and Rubio were the stars of the second debate.”
– John Trigueiro

“I thought they were all good. I heard many good ideas and views from each candidate, despite the moderators constantly trying to turn the debate into the Jerry Springer Show.”
– Ralph Scerbo

An idea for next month’s debate on CNBC:

beth ann clyde

beth ann clyde

Beth Ann Clyde is a Digital Editor of Long Island Pulse. Have a story idea or just want to say hello? Email or reach out on Twitter @BAClyde.