Post-debate first impressions
The big story this debate is how much Trump was booed by the audience.
Apparently, the tickets for the debate are controlled by state party bosses, and they gave tickets to pro-establishment people who love Rubio and Bush, and hate Trump. They didn’t like Cruz that much either.
And the other big story is that Trump went all-in on attacking George W. Bush’s record, especially the Iraq war, and he even blamed Bush for 9/11. For which Trump received a massive booing from the audience.
While before the debate I predicted that everyone would attack Rubio, only Cruz got into an argument with Rubio. Everyone else went after Trump. The exchanges between Cruz and Trump, and between Bush and Trump, were very heated.
It’s really hard to know what to make of this debate.
Trump certainly demonstrated that he’s not with the GOP establishment and that he’s not afraid to disagree with the conservative orthodoxy on various issues. Does this help him or hurt him with primary voters?
Rubio didn’t do horribly as in the previous debate, but he didn’t really impress me either. I think his performance is enough for him to win third place, which is where he was in the most recent poll.