Here are four things I wish the other GOP candidates said to Donald Trump in last night’s debate:
Gov. Chris Christie, in answer to Trump’s repeated “great timing” on leaving Atlantic City:
“Do you think the people in Atlantic City who lost their jobs think you had great timing?”
Gov. Jeb Bush, in answer to Trump’s casinos in Florida remark:
“Donald, apparently you think that people losing their money in smoke-filled casinos is a good way to profit. How does that help America become great?”
Carly Fiorina, when Trump attacked her business record:
“I started with nothing, and my father wasn’t worth a quarter billion dollars. I don’t need to brag, but apparently you do.”
Anyone on the stage, when Trump said he was in politics “his whole life”:
“Even when you were a Democrat?”
The candidates were far too polite and far too self-deprecating with Trump on the stage, except when talking about their records. Trump takes advantage of this—all his statements were about “I” while Sen. Marco Rubio practically removed himself from the stage, speaking of “whoever wins.”
Rubio, by far, has the most compelling personal story, and can win the hearts of many more Americans if he would simply climb over the “I” hill.
Sen. Rand Paul played the “hypocrite” card, but didn’t gain any traction because he was talking about medical marijuana, trying to trap Christie and Bush, while leaving Trump free to sit above that discussion.
Somebody should have asked Trump if he—the white, rich kid from New York—smoked pot (or if he still does).
Carson wasted a golden opportunity to link Trump to Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaxxer crowd, even after CNN’s Jake Tapper lobbed him a softball. Carson answered like a doctor, complete with bedside manner.
And Gov. John Kasich’s limp appeal to evangelicals was about as believable as Obama being a Christian.
In the end, Trump won, not because he said anything useful (does he ever?), but because the other candidates were either trying to be a bit too clever, appeal on raw emotion, or far too polite.