With the 9th Republican debate of the 2016 election behind us, things are more heated than ever. Going into the South Carolina debate, fireworks between Trump and Cruz were expected after recent threats of lawsuits and accusations of lying. What we ended up getting was beyond expectations as far as clashes go.
Trump crashed and burned when it came to contentious moments against Cruz and Bush. Seeming very un-presidential, Trump shouted “LIAR” from the rooftops. Like a child, Trump could not control a downward spiral throughout the debate, making this easily the worst performance of his thus far. As far as how this will impact his numbers, my guess is as good as anyone’s. Trump has seemingly defied logic because his statements should have ended his campaign long ago.
Carson and Kasich were both largely forgettable throughout the debate. Standing on the edges of the stage, both candidates contributed nothing special, except Carson incorrectly quoting Stalin in his closing. While that was an odd move in a GOP primary state, Carson is essentially done with his campaign and is just staying in the race to deprive Cruz of votes.
In the upper tier in the debate, Cruz, Bush, and Rubio stood out. Cruz and Bush faced the previously feared Trump head on. Both men managed to get the better of the exchanges, greatly weakening Trump’s persona. Most notable was the strength that Jeb displayed tonight in contrast to weak performances at previous debates. Will it be enough to give his dying campaign oxygen? South Carolina will help answer that question.
Staying above the fray and seeming strong and professional was Marco Rubio. He avoided bickering with other candidates other than a brief immigration clash with Cruz in which Cruz lied, displaying a worrying trend of the Cruz campaign. This performance could be the move that resumes the flow of Rubio endorsements as the voters look more closely at the issues.
The importance of the GOP race and the need for a nominee that can win in November is evidenced by the passing of Justice Scalia of the Supreme Court. Such a tragic event should shake the voters from flirting with the idea of a reckless President Trump and narrow the field to serious candidates that can win. For the sake of the Republican party and the future of the judicial branch, voters need to get serious about the path this nation is on and reject the divisive rhetoric of Trump.