Here are the winners and losers from the CNN Republican debate in Florida.
Winners and Losers:
1). Donald Trump – Who benefited the most from the Republican candidates attempting to hold a civil debate? Donald Trump. The target was taken off of Trump, which means that he got a free pass. Donald Trump demonstrated that he knew virtually nothing about policy. Trump got Common Core wrong, and his solution to every problem was either that he was going to make America great, or that America is in big trouble. Trump claimed that a lot of Muslims in the world hated the United States. After Rubio had confronted him on the Muslim hate, Trump played the 9/11 card. Both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz failed to put together a complete debate performance. Because none of his challengers were able to knock him off, Donald Trump had a good night.
2). Marco Rubio – Rubio had a nice moment when he pointed out that anti-Muslim rhetoric has consequences. He also told Trump that there are a lot of Muslims buried at Arlington. After Trump had called him politically correct, Rubio responded that he was more interested in being correct than politically correct. Rubio really shined when Trump waffled on whether or not he would close the US embassy in Cuba. Rubio pounced and told Trump exactly what a “good deal” with Cuba would look like.
Rubio was the reverse of Cruz. He had a bad first hour, but the second hour where he looked like a real challenger to Trump, who could win in Florida. The problem is that Rubio and Cruz individually are not good enough to stop Trump. Rubio is a winner while Cruz is a loser because he closed better than the senator from Texas.
Listen to Sarah Jones and Jason Easley discuss the Republican debate:
Ted Cruz –Ted Cruz was the opposite of Marco Rubio. Cruz had a good first hour which was highlighted by his exchange with Trump on the frontrunner’s proposed tariff, but in hour number two, Cruz fell off of the map and was leapfrogged by Rubio. Cruz tried to regain momentum by reminding voters that he is the candidate who has beaten Trump the most, but the toned down format did not play to Cruz’s strengths.
2). John Kasich – Gov. Kasich might have had a chance if his party had not gone completely insane. Kasich tried to make the executive experience argument several times, but in a year where having decades of experience in government is viewed as a negative by Republican voters, this wasn’t the best strategy. Kasich was not relevant, and if the Republican Party were being honest, they would admit that Kasich is only in the race to try to stop Trump from winning his home state of Ohio.