February 26, 2016
As just about everyone expected, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio formed a Gang of Two against Donald Trump tonight. Rubio drew blood, getting some good one liners in there which the Main Stream Media will be repeating nonstop over the next few days. Look for Trump to be savaged on his supposed past use of illegal immigrant labor, his tax returns, and even saying he doesn’t repeat himself (while repeating himself, though not with a scripted line the same way Rubiobot did).
Will it be enough? Late breaking voters have already shown a tendency to break to Marco Rubio so if the polls are close, this may make all the difference. Unfortunately for Rubio, the polls are not close in many of the states he needs a strong showing in. In many ways, Ted Cruz is still a bigger threat in the upcoming SEC primaries on Super Tuesday. And Cruz was not nearly as effective.
Trump also landed some strong counter-punches later in the debate, notably labeling Rubio a “choke artist” and Cruz a “liar.” He also had a strong close, drawing a distinction between himself as a man of action and the other candidates merely as politicians. The optics also favored Trump, as he stood in the center and Cruz and Rubio both sniped at him. And it seems pretty unlikely that Marco Rubio, of all people, is going to be able to marginalize Donald Trump as a bad businessman.
Still, Trump is apparently not doing the debate prep he needs to push back on a lot of these issues. He has become an incredible stump speaker and is by far the most gifted when it comes to television interviews. But every debate is a high wire act. And this is tragic because Trump actually knows more about certain issues than the other candidates. Rubio seemed utterly uncomprehending when Trump outlined the problem with separate state marketplaces when it comes to providing healthcare. And Trump’s explanation of currency manipulation as a driver for outsourcing was critically important. Unfortunately, it was missed in all the one liners.
There’s another point. Tonight, we saw the amusing spectacle of Marco Rubio attempting to get to Donald Trump’s right on immigration. While leaving a giant door open for an eventual Amnesty/Immigration, it was gratifying to see Rubio talking about issues such as E-Verify. The problem for Rubio is he has absolutely no credibility on this issue. Look for Trump to savage him in the coming days on this. And Trump is right when he says that this is only happening because of him.
By the way, no matter what I say here, the online polls show the traditional Trump victory. As of 11:10 PM, with over 120,000 votes cast, Donald Trump is winning the poll on the Drudge report with a commanding 63% of the vote.