Throughout the summer of Trump, then the autumn of Trump, and now into Trump-mas-tide, pundits and politicians alike have assumed that something would happen that would cause Trump’s standing to deflate and his candidacy to go away. I’m not being superior about this: I assumed so, too. But whatever that “something” will be, if it is to be, it did not happen in Las Vegas on Tuesday night.
The debate ended as it began: Trump, dominant; the field of anti-Trumps, fragmented. If anything, the anti-Trump field seems even further from coalescing on Wednesday morning than it did before Tuesday night.
What the debate did highlight, though, was that no single anti-Trump candidate has to date emerged as a party favorite. All of them have tied their careers to at least one policy radically unacceptable to much of the party.
Love Marco Rubio’s eloquence, his inspiring life story, and his youthful personability? Last night, Rubio also confirmed that his top priority as president will be to lead the country into a much wider war in Syria.
Agree with Ted Cruz’s ideological hard-line, relish his confrontations with congressional party poo-bahs? Last night showed that he’s generally a slippery person, and that his real views on issues like immigration align as closely to the donor elite as do those of anybody else on the debate stage.