The Republican presidential candidates must have held a secret meeting before Thursday evening’s CNN Miami debate. For whatever reason, they were all on their best behavior. John Kasich has always acted like the resident adult, but his tone was mirrored by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and even Donald Trump. This was a bizarre evening, folks, for the reality of Trump talking issues was a jarring one. Such gentility should have provided a welcome haven, but after eleven insult-filled debates, these guys suddenly walked out with halos atop their noggins. They acted like a table full of well-mannered children eating their Thanksgiving veggies for the promise of dessert.
In other words, this night felt like an insincere playact. Obviously, these men agreed to drop the mudslinging routine, but it played like a temporary measure before several big states vote next week. Immediately after the debate, Trump described the evening as “elegant” on a live CNN broadcast. Let’s play along and examine the issues, which did see some rage simmering beneath the surface. After all, these candidates can’t hide their differences forever, but Trump played nice with Ted Cruz for a disconcerting handshake (Note: Cruz closed the debate with some stunning shade).