At the CNN GOP debate in Houston, five candidates remained, but only the central trio mattered. The Republican side of the presidential race has come down to a three-man battle, and this debate was all about Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio trying — almost too late — to stop some of Donald Trump‘s momentum. Trump knew the evening would be different than the other debates, and his expression in this photo set the stage.
CNN’s announcer phrased the evening’s theme as “an epic battle for the soul of the Republican party,” which could be the most accurate description anyone could make. On Super Tuesday, we’ll receive an indication of whether Rubio and Cruz’s joint attack arrived on time. The GOP has allowed Trump’s campaign to continue unchecked for months under the assumption that he’d eventually burn out or quit the race. That hasn’t happened, and sh*t is getting real, for Trump has an honest-to-god shot at the GOP nomination.
The GOP touched upon many issues, including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, ISIS (in relation to the Apple-FBI issue), healthcare, and world trade. At least an hour — from various sections of the debate — focused on immigration, which we’ll get to soon. First, let’s talk about conflicts or, in one case, a lack thereof. Here’s Ben Carson begging, “Can somebody please attack me?” This is the new “please clap,” which was the beginning of the end for Jeb Bush. Carson’s almost gone, as well.