Why Tonight's GOP Debate Might Make Or Break Campaigns

What's at stake for all but one of the 16 candidates set to participate in the GOP's second televised debate Wednesday evening?

Money, and with it, the survival of any given candidacy.

A weak performance Wednesday night could cause a candidate's fundraising to dry up, and with it, his or her campaign. A strong performance, on the other hand, could energize fundraising before a deadline at the end of this month.

"This is psychological warfare," as Republican strategist Ford O'Connell put it. "[Candidates] need to do well to make sure others don't get the money.... No one wants to be the next Rick Perry."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush needs to do well enough "to pacify jittery donors," says Mr. O'Connell. "They're not sure he can come out on top. His supporters are looking at others like [Ohio Gov.] John Kasich and [Florida Sen.] Marco Rubio. Bush needs to make sure others don't get the money."

Read more from Husna Haq at The Christian Science Monitor

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Analysis & Political Strategy