The second Republican presidential primary debate is tonight, and the show could set new records for cable news.

The Candidates

For the first GOP presidential debate in early August, 17 Republicans shared the stage in Cleveland, Ohio, but tonight's show will only feature 15 names.

On Sept. 11, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he is suspending his campaign. As a result, he will not participate in the second GOP debate. If he was still on the campaign trail, he would have participated in the first half of tonight's debate, starting at 6 p.m. EDT.

The debate will broadcast on CNN, and with the Republican National Committee's (RNC) consent, set the debate guidelines. According to CNN, the GOP candidates must achieve an average of 1-percentage point in three national polls between July 15 and Sept. 10, selected by the network. Among other criteria, Perry would have been in "Segment A" of the primary debate. Due to the guidelines, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore did not qualify for the second debate, since he registered at 0 percent in most polls CNN collected.

The 6 p.m. debate, known as "Segment A," will have former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Eleven candidates will participate in "Segment B," the 8 p.m. debate.

Based on CNN's collection of polls, the center podium will be for businessman Donald Trump. To his right will be retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. To Trump's left is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Target: Trump

Based on RealClearPolitics' average of polls, Trump leads the GOP field by 10.5 percent. Taking into account polls for ABC, CBS, CNN, Monmouth, Washington Post and New York Times, Trump averaged 30.5 percent of support, a double-digit lead ahead Carson's 20 percent. Bush slipped to third place with 7.8 percent, followed by Cruz with 6.8 percent and Rubio with 5.3 percent. Santorum, Jindal and Graham received less than 1-percentage point.

For the candidates not named Trump, the second debate may be "make or break" and determine the fate of their campaigns, especially those in the single-digit figures.

Trump has been criticized for not providing specifics to his political agenda, and the candidates may use the Wednesday evening as an opportunity to confront him. Trump has also been vocal about most of his opponents, including Bush, Graham, Jindal, Pataki, Paul and Fiorina -- mentioning their low polling numbers or physical features.


Wednesday two debates will take place in California, where Latinos are the majority population. This year, California became the second state where Latinos surpass any other ethnicity, after New Mexico. Based on the U.S. Census Bureau's data, 14.99 million Latinos live in California, which outnumbered the 14.92 million whites in the Golden State. By 2060, projections expected Latinos to account for 49 percent of California's population.

Latinos are also in control of California Legislature. In California's Senate, Democrat Kevin de León currently leads the upper house, while Assemblyman Anthony Rendon will assume the speakership position in January 2016. Rendon and de León will help mark the first time Latinos lead the state's legislative bodies.

As Latin Post reported, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., said the RNC's decision to have the debate in California, in addition to coinciding within Hispanic Heritage Month, is the "perfect backdrop."

Ronald Reagan and Immigration

Within California, the debates will occur in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Taking place in a place named after Reagan, viewers and listeners of tonight's debate should expect plenty of references to the 40th U.S. president.

Reagan served two gubernatorial terms in California, winning in 1967 and 1971. During his presidency, Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, which granted amnesty to 2.7 million undocumented immigrants who lived in the U.S. before 1982; the undocumented immigrants must have had a clean criminal record and registered with the Selective Service. The bill also increased border security and penalties for employers who knowingly hired undocumented immigrants.

Despite passing the immigration law, the topic has been a sensitive topic for some current Republican candidates.

Trump has made it clear that he wants to deport all 11.3 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. -- opposing the concept of "amnesty," adjust the birthright provision of the 14th Amendment granting U.S. citizenship to babies of undocumented immigrants and a wall across the southern U.S. border.

Bush also released his immigration plan. In addition for border security and improved technology, he proposed an intergovernmental task force "to locate and apprehend overstays" -- especially immigrants who pose as public safety risks -- and electronic verification of employment eligibility.

Rubio cosponsored the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill S.744 "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," which received bipartisan support, including fellow presidential candidate Graham. Rubio, however, has stepped away from his support of the bill. Graham, however, still support the legislation.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California in 2013, the Golden State is home to the largest immigrant population, although almost half (47 percent) are documented naturalized U.S. citizens while 26 percent have either green cards or visas. While most Californian immigrants were born in Latin America, a recent influx has occurred from Asian countries, namely the Philippines and China.

How to Watch

The 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. EDT, debates will air on CNN, and online via CNNgo. The Salem Radio Network will also broadcast the debates.


For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: