I watched the entirety of the GOP debate last night, and as has been the case recently, it was a barn-burner. Right off top, Donald Trump sent the debate crowd and the audience watching at home into a fit of laughter by guaranteeing there was “no problem” with his penis size (a topic which Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced as of late)…
Some people may think this statement undignified, but Marco Rubio started the line of attack himself, so I would suggest that you blame him. To me, Trump’s response here is one of the things that makes him so appealing. There’s no other frontline political actor who would say such a thing on a debate stage. The American people know this and many of them instinctive love him for it.
The rest of the candidates spent most of the night Trump-bashing. They were joined in those efforts by the Fox News moderators, especially Megyn Kelly. But, while they went in very hard on Trump, to their credit they also roasted the other candidates as well. At least it wasn’t completely unfair. It just felt like the special graphics and stuff like that were saved for The Donald.
In terms of who won, like just about everyone else, I have to give the nod to Ted Cruz. Still, he’s Ted Cruz, and as such, he’s naturally repellent to large segments of the population. Trump has that problem with some people as well, to be fair, which is the only reason he hasn’t closed the door on Cruz yet. I look for him to begin to do so tomorrow night, when the results from these states come in:
Rubio sucked a fat one last night, and to me, his campaign is just about done. His only hope is a brokered convention, which will doom the winner to a loss in the fall. I seriously doubt Trump is going to support the nominee if they steal it from him in Cleveland if he comes in with the lion’s share of the delegates and votes. I wouldn’t want him to, either. Even Cruz is calling this strategy out for what it is…
Ted Cruz just called the notion of brokered convention a "pipe dream of the establishment" "It ain't gonna happen" https://t.co/tyRnmJ61G8
— Jason K. Morrell (@CNNJason) March 4, 2016
With this, he’s clearly making a play for Trump supporters. I have to give the man credit, he’s a lot smarter than Marco Rubio is. If the establishment had united behind Cruz instead of Rubio, they could have beaten Trump. Now, it’s almost certainly too late. Take a look at this analysis from The New York Times:
If the remaining states vote as one would expect based on their demographics and the results so far, Mr. Trump will defeat Marco Rubio by a margin of 37 percent to 25 percent over the rest of the race. Ted Cruzwould take third place over the rest of the primary season, with 22 percent of the vote. (These figures were calculated by weighting the candidate’s projected vote share in congressional districts by Mitt Romney’s vote in 2012, to more appropriately reflect the importance of caucuses. The actual popular vote would be worse for Mr. Cruz.)
Mr. Trump’s 12-point lead over Mr. Rubio would translate into a huge majority of the outstanding delegates. He would be favored to amass around two-thirds of the delegates that remain — or around 1,100 additional delegates on top of the more than 300 delegates he already holds. That would easily be enough for Mr. Trump to clear the 1,237 delegates needed to win.
Only time will tell, but I don’t think the debate last night is going to do anything one way or the other. People are watching these for entertainment now. For the most part they’ve already made up their minds one way or the other. I feel like most of these “late-deciders” are a myth. In my view, they’re usually leaning hard towards a certain candidate. A wild debate like this, while certainly amusing, isn’t likely to affect the voting much at all. Tomorrow night should help show us if I’m right, since Trump is favored in every state except Kansas (Keep an eye on the caucus states, though. With the exception of Nevada, Trump has been underperforming his polls in caucuses).
We’ll be doing a Killstream while watching the results roll in. I’ll put up a post later today with the link.
PS: I didn’t talk about Gov. John Kasich, since I don’t see any chance in hell of him receiving the nomination, but he had a very good night by simply staying above the fray. Look for him to continue to drag down Rubio’s vote totals even more after that performance.