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Recap of the Republican Debate 2023: A Complete Dumpster Fire

GOP Candidates Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy face off at the Republican National Committee Debate in Milwaukee, WI.

GOP Candidates Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy face off at the Republican National Committee Debate in Milwaukee, WI. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty


In case you missed last night’s RNC debate for the sake of your mental health, we watched it so you don’t have to.

Despite Trump’s absence, his eight rival Republican candidates battled it out in an attempt to prove their ability to replace him as front-runner. Whether or not any of them were successful in upending his lead remains to be seen, but it’s hard to characterize their performances as anything but major fails.

And while it felt like two hours of total nonsense, thanks to social media, it wasn’t a total loss. By far the “best” part of last night’s debate were these reactions from the Twitter universe. Here’s how the night went: 

As the debate began, Dark Brandon helped kick things off for Fox News audiences:



Which was followed by a little desperation and plagiarism:


Then it was time for some climate change denial.



And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse …



Followed by a cacophony of non-answers:



Chris Christie chimed in to show how tech-savvy he was: 



And then the moment we all knew was bound to happen—they were asked about abortion:



No surprise here:


Then it was time for a commercial break with a casual mention of Donald Trump turning himself in to the authorities. (We can’t make this stuff up.)



Moments later on the debate stage, the math wasn’t mathing for Vivek Ramaswamy:


Then Ron DeSantis talked about the importance of education:



The Republican candidates shared how they really feel about taking care of the less privileged in America:



And then Nikki Haley decided to shake things up with … the truth?



Mike Pence felt a bit left out, so he had to say something: 



And, thankfully, just like that, the first Republican debate was over …



… with the biggest takeaway of all:


All jokes aside, this debate clearly proves that if you haven’t yet gotten involved with next year’s election, now is the time to get off the sidelines. 

MoveOn is preparing to launch the biggest election program of our 25-year history, and we need your help to make it happen.

The messages shared by the GOP candidates last night were wrong. They were dangerous. And they must be defeated.

Join us in fighting for an America where everyone can thrive. Click here to chip in now.