Ryan S. Amado
Thursday's CNN/Telemundo Republican debate gave Donald Trump's rivals one final shot to establish themselves as legitimate alternatives to the front runner going into the coveted “Super Tuesday,” a day where nearly half of the delegates needed to win the GOP's nomination will be up for grabs. For Senators Ted Cruz and Macro Rubio, who are giving Trump the most competition, this was a "now or never" moment, as a poor debate performance meant doomsday for either campaign.
Both Senators were on the attack all night, hounding Trump about his business practices, the weaknesses of his policy plans, and not being a true Republican. The strongest showing came from Senator Rubio, who made multiple attempts to oust Trump as a con man, noting a case put against Trump in the 1980s in which he was fined for using illegal Polish immigrants on one of his development projects. He also brought up the ongoing lawsuit against Trump University, claiming Trump defrauded students who paid for program. The relentless attacks were led much more by Rubio than Cruz, and left Trump unsettled at times. Debates on topics such as immigration, replacing Justice Scalia, and religious liberty all turned into attacks on Trump’s record and current views.
The GOP’s desperate attempt to stop Trump in his tracks has been a miserable failure up until this point. Most political pundits agreed the narrative for Trump would change as the number of candidates dwindled down. However, since the exits of Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Jeb Bush, Trump’s numbers have only risen, while his opponents have stayed stagnant. The kitchen sink finally needed to be thrown at Trump, and it paid off. Rubio would enjoy the spoils the most, and emerged as seemingly the only candidate who has any chance at toppling the Donald—for a moment.
Enter Governor Chris Christie
The candidates all continued to jab at each other post-debate, and into Friday morning. The conversation then took an immediate turn during the afternoon, when Trump snatched headlines by announcing he had acquired the endorsement of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The Governor then took the podium to display his newly found support for Trump, announced plans to campaign for him, and took shots at Senator Rubio. The outspoken Governor has displayed his dislike for Rubio in the past, and now will get the chance to continue his onslaught on behalf of his former political adversary. The announcement lead into a fiery rally in which Trump continued to attack Senator Rubio and state his case to the people of Texas. Despite his poor debate performance, Trump has lost little ground, and most likely will maintain his lead going into the March 1 primaries.
Even after being somewhat exposed as a fraud, Trump still holds a strong grip on the Republican base. We have all wondered when Donald Trump will be stopped, but now we must ask ourselves, can Donald Trump be stopped?