The Republican field has taken far too long to be whittled down, and despite the fact we haven’t reached the Iowa caucus, there is a lot of bitterness in the race judging by the latest debate.
With that in mind, why not have a look through the biggest names in the Republican contest and see what can make them a Hateful Eight?
Donald Trump hates that Ted Cruz is doing more than nip at his heels
The silent Trump-Cruz peace treaty has broken. Trump began launching attacks at Cruz in the past weeks, focusing on his birth in Canada to launch a pathetic attempt to launch a ‘birther’-esque critique, like the one levelled at Obama in 2008.
This smacks of desperation. On the campaign trail Cruz is managing to match Trump’s populist appeal, hawkishness, and anti-establishment tone. Added to which, he comes without quite so much baggage when it comes to offending hispanic Americans. As we get deeper into the primary season, conservative Americans may consider Cruz to be a candidate who ticks many of the same boxes as Trump, but is less likely to scare away swing voters. They may be right.
Expect the bickering to continue; Cruz is a political pit bull, and will not back down when attacked.
Ben Carson hates that national security has ruined his campaign
The Carson surge of late 2015 is in the history books, and so is the neurosurgeon’s entire campaign by the looks of it.
Prominent members of his staff have quit, his polls are sagging, and he struggles to secure air time during debates. As international terrorism has become a major issue in this election, Carson just does not look ready for the job in the eyes of many concerned Republicans.
There are also allegations of mismanagement within the Carson machine, as the neurosurgeon relied on shakey advice from close associate Armstrong Williams at the expense of the counsel of actual members of his team.
For Carson, his campaign looks as good as dead at this point.
Ted Cruz hates being criticised on national security
Cruz has been among the most ardent hawks in the Republican primary, claiming he wants to carpet bomb ISIS areas so intensely that they can tell if sand glows.
However, Cruz’s rhetoric is actually a cover for a degree of vulnerability on national security. Rubio has been levelling direct attacks on Cruz for calling for cuts to defence budgets, positioning himself as the true hawk of the Republican party.
Cruz is a savvy and cunning politician. He understands that the Republican nomination will be won in large part by who convinces voters they offer the safest pair of hands. Cruz will rebuke any charge against him as weak on national security, knowing full well that this could be a chink in his firebrand armour.
Jeb Bush hates campaigning for the Republican nomination
He would never admit this, but surely ‘Jeb!’ is hating this whole ordeal.
He came into the race as the favourite, edging out Scott Walker in what looked to be a manageable, ‘let’s beat Clinton’ primary race. The Bush name brought with it the most impressive fundraising machinery available, a slew of endorsements, and voter name-recognition. Not to mention his career as a Governor of Florida, a position that usually accrues voter respect.
But it’s January now, Walker is a distant memory, a tornado called Trump has disrupted the rules of the game, and Jeb is floundering.
It is a shame, because for all his flaws, Jeb Bush does come across as a genuinely nice man, in the same way that Mitt Romney and John McCain were perfectly respectful candidates in their own right.
It’s not his fault, either. He was entirely unsuited to deal with this chaotic mess of populism and anger that has been personified in Donald Trump. The best he can hope for at this point is a graceful, dignified exit from what has been at times a childish brawl.
Chris Christie hates being called Obama’s buddy
Prior to the past year, Chris Christie had somewhat of a reputation for bipartisanship. At the very least, as Governor of New Jersey he welcomed the personal help of the President during the aftermath of Huricane Sandy.
Now his rivals are jumping at the opportunity to cast Christie as pals with the Democratic President, and Christie is having none of it.
Christie has actively attempted to distance himself from Obama and Clinton, injecting his debate answers with vitriolic condemnation of the White House.
John Kasich hates his lack of air time
It’s somewhat of a minor miracle that John Kasich is still in this race.
The Ohio Governor has an impressive record and could have been a force in this election. Kasich has previously challenged Republican orthodoxy in his state to extend medical care to the poor, and supports the Democrat-led Common Core educational standards.
As Governor of Ohio Kasich has also been proud to point to bipartisan support for his actions.
In any other year this might earn Kasich more attention and a real shot at the Republican nomination. However, this year Kasich has been unable to take centre stage as the establishment candidate, failed to secure notable moments during debates, and remains a second tier candidate in the polls.
Marco Rubio hates that moderate Republicans haven’t rallied around him yet
Rubio is widely believed to be the most dangerous opponent to a Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Despite this, the ‘moderate’ vote in Republican ranks is still split between Rubio, Bush, Kasich and Christie.
Touting his foreign policy record in the Senate, Rubio seized the opportunity to present himself as a strong leader in the face of terror threats, and has steadily bolstered his conservatism when it comes to immigration and economic issues.
Despite this, moderate Republican support remains fragmented between at least four candidates, leaving Cruz and Trump to lead national polls.
Though possible, it is unlikely that the moderate opponent of Cruz or Trump will be anyone other than Rubio, and at this point the Florida Senator must be itching to consolidate his hold on the middle of the party.
Rand Paul hates that he’s fallen off the main stage
Rand Paul was never going to win the nomination. His purpose in this contest was to articulate an alternative vision of conservative America: strict constitutionalism, libertarian values, and non interventionism abroad.
To an extent, Paul has done this. Clashing with Trump during the debates, Paul has taken up his father’s legacy as the champion of a different variety of Republicanism.
However, as the primaries near Paul’s poll numbers have fallen, and he has lost his position on the mains stage during debates, refusing to appear on the ‘undercard’ stage with Mike Huckabee and three other low-polling candidates.
Paul’s run is almost over.