There are only a few days left for Republican bed-wetters to stop Donald Trump from steamrolling his way to the presidential nomination via Florida and Ohio, and if Thursday night’s CNN Republican Presidential Debate is any indication, it’s not gonna happen. There was one moment that went largely unnoticed, though, and it perfectly demonstrates why he’s winning.
It came about an hour into the debate, as Ted Cruz was launching into one of his patented Eighth-Grader-Reciting-His-Book-Report-As-Though-It’s-A-Shakespeare-Sonnet routines about how ideologically immune he is to special interests, a linchpin of his appeal, when Trump casually destroyed him. The key here is not what Trump said, but the way Cruz literally throws up his arms in surrender when he’s done:
CRUZ: When I went to Iowa and campaigned against ethanol mandates, everyone said that was political suicide. You can’t take on ethanol in Iowa. And my opponents on this stage not only didn’t do the same. They attacked me and even promised to expand corporate welfare. If we’re going to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids, you’ve got to be willing to take on the lobbyists…
TRUMP: … if you look back to Iowa, Ted did change his view and his stance on ethanol quite a bit. He did and — at the end. Not full on, but he did change his view in the hopes of maybe doing well. And you know, I think everybody knows that. It was a front page story all over the place, and he did make a change.
BASH: Senator Cruz?
(pause so pregnant it had time to visit Planned Parenthood)
CRUZ: Listen, if you are fed up with Washington, the question you ought to be asking is who is willing to take on Washington?
If you’re as fed up with Ted Cruz’s fake sincerity act as I am, this was a thing of beauty, but if you’re a Republican primary voter trying to make up your mind, it’s a gut punch to Cruz’s entire narrative. Trump had him dead to rights, and even though Cruz had an impressive array of spin at the ready, he didn’t even bother to try.
As a candidate, Donald Trump delivers what he promises: anarchic table-flipping id. Cruz promises something he can’t possibly deliver: Ivory Snow purity. Marco Rubio promises to be the young, energetic voice of a New American Century, yet here’s the only time he really scored big against Trump Thursday night:
Congratulations, Marco Rubio, you’ve just proven that you know more about Cuba than Donald Trump, while supporting a 50 year-old policy that even Abe Simpson is ready to move on from. That ought to be a game-changer.
The other candidates barely even tried to put a scratch on Trump Thursday night, apparently content to cruise into Seriously Super Tuesday and This Time I Mean It with only their existing momentum and some ad buys to propel them, and in the process, gave Trump exactly what he needed. They gave him the chance to look comparatively presidential.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.