This morning, Byron York tweeted that Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz were fighting each other and that this fight was happening in The Donald’s shadow. That statement would’ve been true a month ago. It was still true 2 weeks ago. It isn’t true anymore.

During Thursday night’s debate, Sen. Rubio emerged from Trump’s shadow, thanks in part to Trump’s decision to skip the debate because he was too petulant to tolerate being asked questions by Megyn Kelly. (I suspect he didn’t appear because he didn’t want to give Ms. Kelly the opportunity to prove she’s a great journalist. If Megyn asked him some tough, fair questions, then he couldn’t credibly tell his sycophants on Twitter that she’s a terrible journalist anymore.)

During the debate, GOP activists learned nothing negative about Sen. Rubio. They were reminded that he was part of the Gang of Eight bill, which everyone knew. Admittedly, Sen. Rubio took a couple hits. Still, Cruz came out of that exchange the worse for wear because Sen. Paul, Sen. Rubio and Ms. Kelly exposed Sen. Cruz as a fraud on being the only flawless politician on immigration. They proved that he played games in an attempt to have it both ways.

The thing that lifted Sen. Rubio out of Mr. Trump’s shadow, though, was his turning his fire outward towards Mrs. Clinton with laser-like precision. He especially hit her hard when he ridiculed her for saying she’d appoint President Obama to the Supreme Court. Sen. Rubio hit Hillary hard when he said she was disqualified for lying to the families of the men who died in Benghazi.

The thing that capped Sen. Rubio’s coming out party was his appeals to lead America into a new “American Century.” That’s something his opponents on stage haven’t talked about. That’s something that Mr. Trump has only paid lip service to. Make America Great is Trump’s slogan but his stump speeches are mostly him praising himself and reciting his big leads in polls. Nobody in their right mind thinks that Trump has a clue about implementing public policies that will get America’s economy humming again. Mr. Trump had a casino go bankrupt while the economy was going well. Think about that. Bankrupting a casino takes some doing. The deck is stacked against the players.

Despite the inherent advantage of being the house, Mr. Trump’s casino went bankrupt. We’re now supposed to trust him in getting the U.S. economy going? That’s rich. Sen. Rubio has outline a series of reforms that will help the private sector turn the economy around.

Tim Carney’s article is worthwhile reading. People ready to anoint Trump the winner in Iowa should consider this:

TRUMP’S LEAD IS VULNERABLE TO TURNOUT WEAKNESS

Trump’s lead is five points in this survey, that’s smaller than other recent surveys. It is widely assumed Ted Cruz will have a strong turnout operation (which is more crucial in caucus states than in primary states), and that Donald Trump will have a weak one. If these assumptions are true, that five point lead should be considered a tie — especially given the 4.4 percent margin of error in the poll.

The other thing that can’t be ignored is the fact that there’s lots of people who are still persuadable:

Trump supporters and Cruz supporters are less persuadable, more committed than average voters — 71 percent and 62 percent respectively, say their mind is made up.

If these figures are accurate, that means 8% of Trump’s supporters are persuadable. It also means that 9% of Sen. Cruz’s supporters are persuadable. (It doesn’t say what percentage of Rubio supporters are persuadable so I can’t make that calculation.) Carney puts things this way:

RUBIO HAS THE MOST UPSIDE POTENTIAL

Rubio wins on the second-choice contest, with 20 percent to Cruz’s 17 percent (Trump is in 4th place with 7 percent).

This is anyone’s race, with Trump and Cruz having the advantage going into the last full day of campaigning.

One Response to “Out from Trump’s shadow?”

  • eric z says:

    Rubio is a neocon. One who never served. He can tug Hegseth’s sleeve as much as either cares to play that tune, but another chicken hawk is not what the nation needs. The donor class has its eyes past Bush, and it will be fun to see which, Bush or Rubio, wins Florida.

    Presuming, of course, that by then Florida is relevant and presuming, of course, Trump does not win there.

    Florida more than Iowa will be where parts of the Republican donor class have at it. Bush is treading water at present but with a brokered convention the early guess of a Clinton – Bush entrenched political family thing still is viable. Not that either of the two families is palatable. Just follow the money.

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