His challengers should know by now that they can’t beat Donald Trump at mockery, although Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tried anyway in Thursday’s two-hour presidential debate. For the second straight Republican debate, civility swiftly gave way to mayhem.
Within the first five minutes, rhetoric flared about 2012 nominee Mitt Romney’s unprecedented broadside earlier in the day against Trump, a belittling bit of innuendo about the size of Trump’s hands and, astonishingly, the first debate reference ever by a candidate about the dimensions of his male anatomy. (By Trump, predictably.)
Were this a normal campaign, Trump would have lost the debate, Rubio would have damaged himself, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich would have won. Throughout, even when prodded by the moderators, Kasich refused to join in the back-seat rumble and kept the mien of a parent threatening to stop the car if the fisticuffs didn’t end.