Donald Trump still won the GOP debate

It was the 'elephant not in the room.'

 

Andrew Couts

Tech

Published Jan 29, 2016   Updated Feb 29, 2020, 12:27 pm CST

Donald Trump was the “elephant not in the room” at the seventh Republican presidential debate, as moderator Megyn Kelly put it, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t there in the minds of Americans. 

After a feud with Fox News, which hosted Thursday night’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Trump abandoned the debate and instead held a fundraiser for military veterans just a few blocks from the debate venue. 

Not only does Trump claim to have raised $6 million for veterans “while politicians talked,” but he managed to dominate the online conversation and the curiosities of American voters.

Going into Thursday night’s debate, Trump remained the top searched GOP presidential candidate on Google in all 50 states. 

Little changed throughout most of the two-hour debate, during which Trump maintained an average search volume that was more than double that of any other GOP candidate, according to Google.

On Twitter, Trump gained more followers than any candidate on the stage, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Trump’s closest rival in Iowa, where voters will caucus on Monday. Trump also enjoyed the most mentions throughout the GOP debate.

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Among the candidates who did appear on the debate stage, Cruz enjoyed the bulk of the in-game Twitter conversation.

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It was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), however, who had the most tweeted moment of the debate, when he said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Democratic presidential candidate and a self-described democratic socialist, “would be a good president … of Sweden.” (The leading political party in Sweden, the Social Democrats, has its roots in Marxism.)

The second most tweeted moment, however, came when moderator Chris Wallace sparred with Cruz over the debate rules and line of questioning, and the Texas senator threatened to leave.

“If you guys ask one more mean question,” Cruz said, “I may have to leave the stage.”

Given how little skipping the debate seems to have affected Trump, perhaps that would have been the best way to go.

Screengrab via Fox News/YouTube 

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*First Published: Jan 29, 2016, 2:09 am CST