Trump had his best debate night tonight. Kasich did well, and I would not be surprised if he finishes in the top three. He is well liked in that state.
Bush did okay and will likely do well in New Hampshire.
Ben Carson was mostly invisible.
Cruz lied his ass off about Carson, and he did not get much air time.
Stick a fork in Marco Rubio. He is done, as Christie absolutely destroyed him. Rubio was finally exposed to all as the empty suit that he is. He is way in over his head.
He will be out in short order:
Going into the debate, neither Christie nor Rubio were especially likely to come out of next week’s New Hampshire primary with a win. According to the polls, overall, New Hampshire remains what it has been for much of this primary: Trump territory. The real game, then, was over which “establishment” candidate — Rubio, Bush, Christie, or Kasich — would finish second (or conceivably third, if Cruz was the runner-up).
After parlaying a third-place finish into first-place momentum in the Iowa caucuses — with a lot of help from the media, by the way — Rubio was the most likely second-place finisher. Which explains why Christie, who has basically been living in New Hampshire for the past year, started hammering the senator as a novice with no accomplishments; a nice guy, sure, but also a rookie. It explains Bush and Christie’s unofficial, temporary détente, too.
It was bound to be dramatic, therefore, when Christie and Rubio were first pitted against one another. Still, even if we acknowledge that the matchup of these two abnormally telegenic politicians (in the broadest sense of the term) was bound to make for better television than the somnambulant, passive-aggressive, I’m-not-mad-I’m-just-disappointed nonsense Dr. Ben Carson was laying on Sen. Ted Cruz, the results were extraordinary.
Rubio was knocked out of contention. He has zip chance of ever winning the nomination now for sure.