Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that both Cruz and Rubio went after Trump. However, while Cruz was more substantive on policy, I think Rubio did exactly the one thing that will undo Trump:
He played Trump’s game.
Trump attacks Rubio by saying “He repeated himself five times a couple weeks ago,” and Rubio responds with “I saw him repeat himself five seconds ago.” Rubio out-trolled the troll, and that’s the difference in how the debate went. Yeah, did Cruz beat Trump’s ass on policy? You bet. But Cruz also got in his jabs at Rubio, and each time, his jabs landed less and less until the crowds stopped responded to them. Cruz did not learn the valuable lesson: the audience wants one target, and one target only – Donald Trump.
They don’t care about the Cruz/Rubio spat. They care about people taking on the front runner, and Rubio did that by playing on the front runner’s level, but without being immature about it. Cruz hit the front runner like a Senator: policy and rhetoric. Rubio showed himself capable of learning, while Cruz missed an opportunity.
Super Tuesday might be fun after all…