WWE CEO Vince McMahon had to be proud of last night’s Republican debate at the University of Houston. It was a Texas Death Match that had long shouting matches with smack talking replacing actual issues. Welcome to GOP WrestleMania 10 Houston and the only thing missing was the ring.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for the first time in 10 GOP debates they tag teamed their attacks on frontrunner Donald Trump. It was too little, too late as Trump remained standing just five days away from the Super Tuesday when 11 states will go to the polls.
At the fiery Republican debate in Houston, Cruz and Rubio took turns bashing Trump on a number of issues. They painted him as a hypocrite for in the 1990s hiring of unauthorized immigrant workers instead of Americans. They said he’s a deal-maker who has supported “far left Democrats.”
They claimed he didn’t understand issues like health care. But after the dust settled Trump was still standing and while both Rubio and Cruz still have to figure out a way to translate their attacks on the frontrunner will translate into votes on Tuesday.
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Rubio and Cruz did what they had to do, pressing the issue against Trump in an effort to knock the frontrunner out. But Trump was able do enough counter punching to come out of Houston without too much damage. Trump’s support appears to be settling like cement, as he heads into the 11 Super Tuesday contests.
He has leads in all the state polls, with the exception of Texas. Trump swatted away the criticism with ease, seemingly enjoying sparring with his competitors. He did have one uncomfortable moment, when Rubio accused him of repeating himself during a skirmish over health care.
Several weeks ago Rubio collapsed under Chris Christie’s claim that Rubio frequently retreats to a memorized 25-second speech. The problem for Rubio and Cruz is that they did nothing to prove either man was worthy of being the GOP presidential nominee. No one emerged as the champion that will stop Trump from getting the nomination.
According to our friends at Bloomberg Politics they released polls yesterday that shows Trump is backed by 37 percent of likely Republican presidential primary voters in the seven states surveyed, while Rubio and Cruz are tied at 20 percent. The poll findings reported the candidates’ combined support across all seven states, but that isn’t how Tuesday’s elections will play out.
The March 1 contests — like those held in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — will award delegates on a proportional basis, so winning even some of the vote will translate to winning some of the 595 delegates at stake. The rules change starting in the contests March 15, when states will start awarding delegates on a winner-take-all basis. A total of 1,237 are needed to win the Republican nomination.
If Trump wins big on Super Tuesday and then again on March 15th when Ohio and Florida he is the nominee. For Rubio and Cruz to get the nomination it is possible that it would take a brokered convention.