How The GOP Candidates Will Debate The Economy

One of the things that Republicans are supposed to agree on is the economy, isn't it? They want fewer taxes and more jobs. But as with most things political, it's not that simple. When the remaining Republican candidates take the stage on Wednesday for the third GOP debate, their jabs about the economy will likely sound both familiar and competitive.

Donald Trump will likely point to his business success — as he has little other experience to run on — while Jeb Bush can focus more on his time as governor of Florida. Those who come from modest beginnings will probably stick with the "American dream" narrative of creating jobs that will help hardworking, low-income Americans pull themselves up by their boot straps. Plenty will probably throw Obama under the bus.

Thanks to the larger-than-life campaigns that have taken over this election cycle so far, it's possible that a record-breaking number of Americans will watch Wednesday's debate on CNBC. There's not much that we haven't heard these candidates say at this point, which makes them quite predictable. If who they went after and how they went after them, in the last debate and in the news cycles since, are any indication, then we're in for another wild ride.

"She Almost Ran Hewlett-Packard Into The Ground."

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She, in this case, would be none other than Carly Fiorina. Despite her previous breakthrough debate performance, Fiorina has also struggled to address her less-than-inspiring track record as CEO of HP. While it's great that she — as a woman — led a Fortune 500 company, it's not so great that she cut 30,000 jobs and sliced shareholder wealth by more than 50 percent. One of her fellow candidates is bound to make sure we all remember Fiorina's past.

"I've Run Successful Businesses & Made Lots Of Money Doing It."

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Trump probably won't need to trash Fiorina and her tenure at HP, because he'll likely be too busy touting his own business success. He doesn't have any political experience to pull from, so creating jobs and making money for the country should be his highlight reel. He'll also probably lay down some points from his recently announced tax plan.

"Marijuana Legalization Has Been Good/Bad For The Economy."


Wednesday's debate will take place in Boulder, Colorado, where marijuana is legal and regulated. The topic of weed came up in the last debate — when Bush admitted to smoking pot in high school — and it will inevitably come up again this time, giving candidates the perfect opportunity to frame it as an economic issue one way or the other.

"I Was Raised By Working Class Parents."

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Invoking a family history is nothing new. Bush often has to tiptoe around his, but Ted Cruz has told the touching story about how his mother went to college despite her father's objections. When it comes to the economy, Marco Rubio often talks about his parents' meager beginnings: His father was a bartender and his mother was a hotel maid. Although he's no longer a member of the blue-collar class himself, Rubio will likely mention his backstory once again to appeal to middle-class and low-income voters.

"We Can Grow The Economy By 4 Percent."

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Bush seems to have some economic problems of his own on the campaign trail, cutting jobs and pay from his team to save money. But as governor of Florida, he grew the economy by more than 4 percent, a figure he has said he would replicate for the country. He also hopes to bring 19 million jobs to the country.

No matter what they say or what approach they advocate, it's safe to say that "middle class," "fair tax," and "create jobs" will be the candidates' buzzwords of the night on Wednesday. Hopefully, though, they'll focus more on economic policy and less on the name-calling... looking at you, Trump.