With the upcoming Iowa Caucus fast approaching, Republican candidates are shoring up their strategies and attempting to point out flaws in their opponents’ strategy. With most of the questions remaining safe to not alienate some who are running in the primary, the most recent debate did not prove any groundbreaking new material, but it did shed some light on changing developments on the race for the Republican nomination.
Donald Trump continues to go on the offensive regarding Ted Cruz’s ability to actually hold office. In the last month, he has continued to bring up the “Birther” issue, calling into question Cruz’s ability to even hold office. Donald Trump quoted Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor about the topic. The big take away from this proved to be Ted Cruz did not put the issue to rest. While he said he would not tolerate the questioning and that he could, in fact, hold office, he didn’t do anything to qualm the possibility of himself not being legally qualified to hold office.
Now, by doing so Democrats are unable to point fingers at Trump, saying he only did it for Obama when President Obama ran for office. It also may put some fear in potential voters who were thinking about voting for Cruz. If they believe Cruz may be found legally out of holding office, they most likely would not want their vote to go in vain, and simply vote for Mr. Trump.
Ted Cruz attempted to turn the table on Donald, point out that since he lives in a million dollar penthouse in New York, he obviously has “New York City values.” Cruz outlined these values to be extremely left-siding. This was Ted’s attempt to paint Donald as not only moderate, but a left-leaning individual who had been consumed from living in the city.
Donald not only squashed the idea of himself being a left-leaning individual, but also pointed out how the city of New York came together after 9-11 and rebuilt with the world watching. Donald seemed to dramatically make a splash with this. However, it seems like Ted Cruz is not going to leave this issue alone and he is going to play off of the “New York City Values” for a considerable amount of time. Whether it works or not is yet to be determined, but it didn’t land very well during the debate.
Cruz seemed to take the brunt of attacks from all of the other individuals taking part in the debate. Many of the candidates are still under the assumption that Trump’s lead will dissipate and he will eventually fall by the wayside. While numbers show the opposite, nearly all of the candidates are counting on that happening. It is why most of the candidates attacked Cruz.
Marco Rubio took some massive shots at Cruz at the end of the night and it is possible he made the biggest splash of all the candidates. Most Republicans know what to expect out of Donald Trump during a debate, as do they know what to expect from Cruz. However, Marco Rubio came out swinging in the final rounds of the debate, pointing out how Cruz had a lackluster background on immigration voting, not to mention how he voted against Department of Defense funding. He also pointed out many issues with Cruz’s international trade policies, most of which seemed to land and hit home.
Both Cruz and Rubio battled out back and forth for much of the night. Despite the early stages of Cruz and Trump pointing out issues with one another, Cruz knows he has to knock Rubio out of the pack. This is because while Cruz is beating Trump in a head to heat matchup, when Republican voters are asked who they like between the two, Trump takes a commanding lead when Rubio is added into the mix. This indicates Rubio takes most of Cruz’s possible votes away.
It should prove rather interesting who comes out on top in the next several weeks and how strategies change following Iowa. Now, it is possible everything stays the course until after a few states through, but if one of the top candidates (Cruz or Trump) miss out on most or all of the early states, there will be a dramatic shift in how the campaign is running. Ultimately though, it appears Rubio is starting to pick up steam and move towards the top of the Republican presidential candidates. Only time will time how high he can climb.