Last night in the reality show we’re calling the 2016 election, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz teamed up against front-runner Donald Trump. The three monopolized speaking time, as anyone who was attacked by name by another candidate was given the opportunity to respond. Ben Carson eventually chimed in asking if someone could attack him.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the night was the bickering between Rubio and Trump, whereas Rubio attacked Trump for repeating himself (referencing some past criticism that he himself received from Chris Christie). Trump responded “I don’t repeat myself. I don’t repeat myself.”
He continued; “Speaking of repeating yourself, I saw him [Rubio] repeat yourself five times four weeks ago,” to which Rubio quickly countered “I saw you repeat yourself five times five seconds ago” then began to list of Trump’s talking points.
It marked the first time any candidate had any real effectiveness in standing up to Trump, and as The Blaze reported on Frank Luntz’s post-debate focus group, people noticed:
“So tell me … who won the debate?” Luntz asked his group.
The group, almost in total unison, answered “Rubio.” According to Luntz, 16 of the 23 participants chose Florida senator as the clear winner in the debate.
My focus group’s final vote on tonight’s winner. #GOPDebate
• Rubio: 16
• Trump: 4
• Kasich: 2• Cruz: 1
• Carson: 0
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) February 26, 2016
Participants dubbed Rubio as “knowledgeable about the issues” and “charming.”
“He zinged [Donald] Trump several times,” one person said.
“He didn’t seem like a mechanical robot, like he usually does when he comes on,” another echoed. “This time he was more personable, you know it was snap snap snap, it wasn’t something he memorized. It didn’t appear that way.”
Will this finally build up some much needed momentum for Rubio? It’s too early to judge, but if he can keep it up, the election just got much more interesting.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]