The 10th Republican Presidential Debate of 2016 is in the books, and it was a two-on-one tag team attack by Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on Donald Trump. Rubio led the way, acting like a little banty rooster, attacking Trump in rapid-fire fashion at every turn. Cruz also attacked Trump multiple times, but not in the frenzied way Rubio did.
Some people complained Trump had more speaking time than the other candidates which was due to the fact both Senators kept invoking his name in their attacks.
When you get to the tenth debate, it gets harder to rate the candidates in the debate because you are assessing not only how they did in the isolated, individual debate, but how they did in the context of where they are in the campaign at this point. Here is how I would rank the candidates:
1. Donald Trump – Trump took heavy fire from both Cruz and Rubio during Thursday night’s debate. For literally more than two hours he absorb hits from the left and right and was standing at the end still in a strong position for Super Tuesday. He didn’t fall apart, he didn’t meltdown, he did not lose his composure. For a man who had never debated until this Presidential Campaign, he did remarkably well as two-lifetime politicians attacked him for two hours. That was a real accomplishment. He gave about as well as he got.
2. Marco Rubio – Marco was very strong tonight – aggressive in going after Trump. That was a strength, but it may also have been a weakness. Rubio had no choice but to go after Trump because he has not won a single state yet and is looking at elimination. He landed some blows on Trump, but the weakness may be that he came off as desperate in doing so. His constant badgering of Trump with a disdainful, dismissive attitude, may not have drawn people to himself. We’ll see if Rubio moves up in the polls. He will be acclaimed as the “winner” of the debate – but that does not mean he will have much of a bump out of it. We’ll see.
3. Ted Cruz – Cruz was strong tonight, but not as strong as Rubio was at going after Trump. He may have helped himself, but neither Cruz or Rubio landed a knockout punch against Trump – which is what they needed. Cruz will likely win his home state of Texas on Tuesday, but I doubt if this debate will put other states in his corner.
4. John Kasich – He had some good moments, but most of the time was eaten up by the big three candidates.
5. Ben Carson – He got the least amount of time and he did nothing with it to really get the attention of voters. He is a fine man, but he is not a debater.
As I said, “desperation” is the word that characterized this debate. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were “swinging for the fences,” as Trump called it. They were throwing everything they could at Trump trying to knock him out. They landed some hits – but Trump was not knocked down, or out.
What do you think of my analysis? Who do you think won the debate and why? Tell me what you thought in my comment section below and share this on social media.