With Rand Paul eliminated, it's going to be "bomb them all, all the time" this evening.
Fox Business Networks’ decision to drop Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul from the main stage at Thursday night’s Republican debate, as well as Paul’s decision not to participate in the undercard event, has eliminated the sole dissenting voice from what could be called the “bomb the shit of them” consensus in the Republican field.
Yeah, too bad about that whole non-aggressionist thing. It doesn't even play all that well in the Democratic primary.
On to the main event, where Ted Cruz may have some tight-collar moments over the high-dollar loans he forgot to report from 2012.
It's the home stretch in the presidential campaign before people actually start voting in less than three weeks — and that raises the stakes for Thursday night's Republican presidential debate in Charleston, S.C. (After this debate, there will be just one more before the Iowa caucuses.)
In the past, Trump and Cruz have pulled their punches in these debates. After questioning Cruz's temperament last month, Trump famously said, "He's just fine. Don't worry about it," at a debate in Las Vegas. That was enough for Cruz, who has cleverly, if not transparently, waited for Trump to implode while not offending him, aiming to inherit Trump's supporters. The detente may be over. Or, who knows, maybe the alliance continues.
Politico lights some fuses.
... Republicans are bracing themselves for a circular firing squad as the 2016 GOP candidates gather (in Charleston, SC) for Thursday's debate.
A cluster of contenders in a fierce competition to command the mainstream GOP lane are almost certain to collide, campaign aides and strategists say. Most of the heat is expected to be directed at Marco Rubio, who, with time running out until the first votes are cast, is anxious to position himself as the establishment front-runner.
They break it down man y mano, but let's just look at the
Establishment candidates have so far been stymied in their efforts to slow down the Trump-Cruz train — in no small part because they’ve been busy fighting amongst themselves.
That dynamic is almost certain to play out again on Thursday night. With Bush, Christie, Rubio, and John Kasich all competing aggressively in New Hampshire — and all within striking distance of one another — there’s simply little incentive for them to play nice.
“That group of people that are bunched up need to separate themselves,” Wiley said.
That's what I will be watching and Tweeting, because IMO the early stage has already been set: Cruz wins Iowa, Trump wins New Hampshire, and whoever comes in third behind them in each state becomes the story. South Carolina is the proving ground for Trump and Cruz, with two others left standing out of Rubio and someone else.
The Nevada caucuses are the wild card; the Dems go before the Rs and a week before SC, while the Rs meet three days after the Palmetto State votes. Historically the Silver State lines up with the favorite (in 2012, Romney and Clinton) and latest polling reveals Clinton and Trump with big leads (although Cruz and Rubio are surging). Nevada, in short, may not tell us much.
March 1 -- Super Tuesday -- hosts Alabama, Alaska (caucus, R), American Samoa (caucus, D), Arkansas, Colorado (caucus, both parties), Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota (caucus, both), North Dakota (caucus, R), Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming (caucus, R).
We should know who each party's standard-bearers for November are by that evening.