The Republican candidates met for the 11th time in Detroit, Michigan before the all important primaries on March 8th. The debate was met with fireworks, especially between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, with Ted Cruz assisting. The crowd was also raucous and there were even some ejections during a commercial break.
How did the candidates do? Here’s what we think
1)John Kasich: Many Republican voters are sick of the fighting and want a substantive discussion of the issues. Kasich certainly provided that. He came off as the adult in the room and there’s definitely an appetite for that, at least in the northern states. If you’re looking for someone who is “the adult in the room” Kasich is your guy.
2)Ted Cruz: Cruz changed his debate strategy some tonight. Instead of being aggressive, he focused more on the issues. It paid dividends and was easily one of his best performances of the night. He even came off as likable at times. He even got some blows against Trump on his conservatism and was very effective on the issue of Trump flip-flopping. If Trump’s wall cracked tonight, Cruz will likely be the guy who benefits most.
3)Donald Trump: Certainly not a great performance, but not a terrible one either. While he did struggle with some of Cruz’s attacks, he was largely able to swat Marco Rubio’s away with ease. He also toned it down for the most part tonight, which can help with his likability. He still struggles with the specifics of policy and the issues. However, he didn’t make any major gaffes or otherwise make any crippling mistakes.
4)Marco Rubio: Rubio was better off not even showing up tonight. That’s how terrible he was. Rubio came off as desperate every time he launched an attack on Trump. Rubio attacked Trump on hiring foreign workers, however given Rubio’s immigration history, he has no credibility on the topic. Rubio was largely just going through the motions tonight because he knows his campaign is all but dead. Finally, when he was asked if he would support Trump as the Republican nominee, he said yes. However, his campaign has been selling #NeverTrump merchandise. Rubio will lose support tonight and Kasich will benefit in the northern states, especially.