— sfpelosi (@sfpelosi) March 4, 2016
Ed Kilgore, at NYMag:
… As a starting point for the anti-Trump collective action cabal, tonight’s debate was probably about as good as it gets. For long, long minutes Rubio beat up on the Donald as a con man and Cruz savaged him as a crypto-Democrat, the two lines of attack regularly reinforced by the moderators and converging in the impression that the man’s a terrible gamble even for the people who are most attracted to him. From long experience during this campaign, it would be foolish to assume the debate damaged Trump’s standing significantly. But if it didn’t, perhaps the man is indeed bulletproof. He did seem uncharacteristically flustered at times.
It’s unlikely Rubio–who for the second debate in a row got into long insult-laden crosstalk exchanges with Trump–or Cruz helped themselves that much. But again, in the collective action scenario they’re like crime bosses who’ve agreed to rub out a common opponent while recognizing that they will have their own reckoning down the line. Meanwhile Kasich was either smart or lucky enough to get a bye into a later round, though if he loses Ohio he will be dumped from the convention cabal unceremoniously for failure to bring delegates to the table…
(Don’t know about Ohio, but as a former Michigander I would be very surprised if Kasich won in Michigan. Denizens of the two states loathe each other with a pure and impartial hatred — imagine the NY/NJ rivalry if neither state had a significant financial advantage over the other.)
Rubio and Cruz saying they will support Trump seems like the most consequential moment of a pretty inconsequential night
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) March 4, 2016
Jamelle Bouie, at Slate — “Rubio and Cruz Just Undermined Every Legitimate Attack They Have Made Against Trump”:
… Earlier, I criticized Mitt Romney for making his moral argument against Trump subordinate to his electoral one—that the real estate mogul would lead the Republican Party to crushing defeat and place Hillary Clinton in the White House. At the same time, Romney’s speech—a forceful attack on Trump as a threat to democracy—was an unprecedented step, the closest thing we’ve seen to a complete disavowal of Trump. And in small ways, it filtered down to the Republican presidential candidates. Rubio, for instance, hammered Trump on his business record while Cruz went after him for supporting Democrats. Romney, it seems, had given new life to the anti-Trump effort, days after the demagogic reality TV star dominated Super Tuesday.
With those final answers, however, the effort fell flat. No, they weren’t the worst part of the debate—that goes to the brief exchange on lead poisoning in Flint, where Rubio praised Gov. Rick Snyder for his handling of the crisis, despite growing evidence of neglect and incompetence, with deadly consequences for the city’s residents—but they deflated Romney’s anti-Trump argument, revealing the extent to which it’s a hollow exercise and undermining every legitimate attack they made during the night.
As long as Rubio, Cruz, Kasich and the rest of the Republican Party are willing to support Trump as the nominee, it doesn’t matter what they say or how they insult him—Trump retains his stature as a legitimate figure in the Republican Party. Which, as he accumulates votes and delegates, makes him harder to stop…
It is likely that the first female major-party nominee will face a man who just talked about the size of his package at a debate.
— Ryan Teague Beckwith (@ryanbeckwith) March 4, 2016
Apart from that unseemly image — brain bleach goes well with coffee, I hope — what’s on the agenda as we wrap up the week?
Someone needs to get control of this arena–it sounds like a…brokered GOP convention?
— Robert Draper (@DraperRobert) March 4, 2016
Trump adviser says if he comes to Cleveland w lead and establishment tries to deny him, his delegates 'will burn the place down.'
— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) March 4, 2016
Does anyone think he meant that figuratively? https://t.co/NpnkS0T9Rb
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) March 4, 2016
None of this would be happening if we'd let Al Gore win that blinking recount
— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 3, 2016