The fourth Republican presidential debate held this month has been all about the poll numbers with the candidates trying to make their case for a 2016 bid. Different candidates tried to separate themselves from the rest of the pack by emphasizing their own experiences and qualifications throughout the night. As the first debate for 2016, this event provided an important insight into the tone of the campaign and the direction that the candidates are taking. The event was divided into two main parts: the primetime debate among the eight top-polling candidates and the undercard debate for the lower polling candidates. Let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways from the night. The current frontrunners, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson, all demonstrated why they’ve been in the lead. Each of them reiterated their own policies and platforms, and stuck to their respective guns come what may. Despite being asked difficult questions, all of them still stood their ground and further solidified their base. The other four candidates attempted to emphasize the differences they had with the frontrunners. Jeb Bush, for one, tried to make his case by emphasizing his experience as the former governor of Florida. Though his attempt was admirable, it didn’t seem to be well-received by the audience and he eventually lost momentum. The others tried to sway the crowd by speaking up on immigration, economy and gun rights. For some of the candidates, the debate served as an opportunity to highlight their foreign policy expertise. Lindsey Graham discussed Russia’s intentions against the US, while Mike Huckabee went so far as to accuse the country of “playing chess while we’re playing marbles.” Throughout the night, there were important themes that were brought up. Repealing Obamacare, addressing torture and the power of the president were hot topics of the night. Immigration laws, border security and relations with Iran also made their presence felt. All in all, the fourth Republican debate provided the audience with a good insight into where each candidate stood on different issues. It provided the candidates with a stage to express their views and put their respective platforms forward. The debate also gave us an idea of the direction that the race may take and the potential for the candidates to sway the voting public.