In the absence of the GOP front runner, Donald Trump,his two closest rivals in the polls took to the stage and seized the opportunity of a Trump-less debate to outshine each other. Donald trump still leads in the recent polls ahead of the Iowa caucuses. He is closely followed by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Senator Marco Rubio. All the Republican candidates at the debate Thursday proved themselves as worthy of being the party’s nominee in the presidential election. However, the two candidates with the most to gain were Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
Cruz and Rubio ignites fire on each other
Cruz is in a very close position with Trump in the polls and is battling for first place in Iowa. Rubio is looking for a strong third-place finish as a way to separate himself from the other mainstream conservatives in the race. Instead of seizing the moment, both Rubio and Cruz reminded the audience of their rivalry as they found themselves under attack and on the defensive. The two candidates sought to square past statements and votes with their claims that they now oppose amnesty for immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Each sought to undermine the other, and both came under attack from the others on stage. The exchanges reinforced how muddled and fluid the Republican race remains as the voting is about to begin.
Cruz, Rubio created an opening for ‘who to tackle’
Both Cruz and created and enabling opportunity for their Republican rivals, to throw tackles at them. Rubio may have gained ground on Cruz, but by failing to fully take command of the stage, the two provided an opening to others, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie quickly jumped to take it.
The aftermath of the debate
The competition between Cruz and Rubio played out throughout the debate. The focus at Thursday’s debate was on the seven candidates who shared the stage more than one who wasn’t there. There will be a different, narrower, focus in Iowa, one in which Trump and Cruz will be the principal actors. A loss for either, given what has happened over the past month, will be a setback. According to the Washington post, The event lacked the drama and finality that debates on the eve of critical caucuses and primaries have sometimes offered in the past.