The Lid: The Big Difference Between the GOP and Democratic Debates

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…In an interview with NBC’s Katy Tur, Donald Trump said of his political style: “I could probably have said fewer things about certain things.” Which is almost identical to the “apology” you texted your significant other after half-price margarita night…. right before they dumped you.

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Primary debates aren’t just a chance to compare how would-be presidential hopefuls spar against each other; they also provide a snapshot of where each political party stands on the ideological spectrum as candidates vie for the love of base voters. And what we’ve learned from the first Republican and Democratic primary debates is that the two sides aren’t just talking about different parties -- they’re almost talking about two different countries. We dug through the transcripts of both the August 6 GOP debate and Tuesday’s Democratic debate to illustrate what we’re talking about here. Democrats were speaking to primary voters who believe that income inequality, climate change and gun violence are some of the most pressing matters facing the country, while Republicans were vying for support from an electorate that’s deeply concerned about immigration, social issues and terrorism.

The result? In their debate, Democrats referenced Wall Street 25 times, climate change 22 times, and guns 42 times. Republicans, in contrast, mentioned Wall Street just once and brought up guns just twice; the phrase “climate change” went un-uttered.

Republicans, on the other hand, mentioned “immigration,” “amnesty” and the “border” a total of 46 times; the equivalent tally for Democrats was just 11. And the GOP hopefuls spoke about abortion and Planned Parenthood a combined 18 times, versus just one reference to Planned Parenthood by Hillary Clinton last night.



A new CNN/ORC poll shows Donald Trump holds a double-digit lead over Ben Carson in both South Carolina and Nevada.

BIDEN: Clinton's strong performance at last night’s debate put a chill on the Biden movement, the New York Times reports.

SANDERS: Sanders' absolution of Clinton's email sins could pay dividends, MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald writes.

TRUMP: CNN looks at whether Trump’s stint hosting SNL could apply to federal “equal time” rules.


“I wouldn't be doing this dumb ass live-stream if I wasn't, so get over it.”

  • Rand Paul, on a Periscope live-stream, answering a question about whether he’s still running for president.


Hillary Clinton speaks to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and then addresses Latinos for Hillary in San Antonio, Texas. Bernie Sanders appears on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

Jeb Bush, George Pataki and John Kasich are in New Hampshire.

Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum campaign in Iowa.