The defining moment of the debate was a heated exchange over the practicality of Donald Trump’s proposed deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants. John Kasich, and then Jeb Bush, denounced the plan while Trump stood his ground. Ted Cruz later joined in defense of Trump’s position. Marco Rubio wisely stayed on the sidelines.
Trump won the exchange because he appeals to so many Republican voters who have lost patience with the “practical” solutions offered by establishment politicians. Immigration highlights this political divide nicely, but it was found in many other issues during the night, such as tax policy and trade.
Overall, Trump had his best debate yet and was the clear winner. The establishment should be very worried. He’s a real contender for the nomination.
Rubio and Cruz are both very good debaters and spoke directly to their supporters. It’s not a mistake they’re slowly moving up in the polls.
Carson succeeded at downplaying questions into his personal story over the last week but was very shaky when it came to foreign policy.
Bush was forgettable, which was sadly an improvement on his last debate.
Rand Paul had perhaps his best moment of the campaign attacking Rubio’s national security plans as too expensive. The problem is that his libertarian foreign policy views are not be held by the vast majority of GOP voters and Rubio swatted him down to much applause. But it was Paul’s first real opportunity to explain why he’s different than the others on the stage.
Kasich was, as Trump might say “high energy,” and made every effort to interject himself into most questions. He’s smart and probably understands the various policy issues better than anyone on the stage. But like Paul, it’s not clear his views reflect his party.
Carly Fiorina should be demoted once again to the undercard debate as she’s done little to build on her momentum of a month ago.
There were no big mistakes tonight, though Cruz nearly fumbled in a Rick Perry-like attempt to list government agencies he wanted to eliminate.
Overall, I don’t see this debate shaking up the race significantly. Trump and Carson remain in the top tier with Cruz and Rubio inching up as they get more exposure. Unless one of those four stumbles badly — which is entirely possible — it’s hard to see the others moving up.Save to Favorites