1: I think that it's meant to be a sort of overarching statement on everything that politicians debate about to sway peoples votes.
2: I think that it's more of a suggestion of the real people, but I can't tell who exactly they are.
3: Labeling is obviously used in the "Tonight's Show: "The Republican Debate"" and "Giant Corporation Puppet Theatre" Which I think is also some sort of exaggeration. The symbolism is shown through the star and strips on the podiums.
4: I'd say the person who wrote this is a Democrat, because this is the Republican debate, not just the political debate.
5: Subtly it is; it's subtly telling you not to vote Republican.
6: I'm not sure I really saw the use of irony in this piece.