Friday, March 11, 2016

Tea and Crumpets in Florida

In contrast to the hand-to-hand combat in Detroit last week, the GOP debate in Miami was a restrained affair.  Personal insults took a backseat to a discussion of policy specifics.  Here are a few CW-ish points:

Donald Trump presented himself as a more restrained, disciplined figure tonight.  He seemed less defensive and less eager to go toe-to-toe with his opponents.  A telling moment happened in his closing statement, when he suggested that his candidacy was the chance for the GOP to grow by accepting millions of new voters.  Trump is attempting to pivot to the role of party unifier.
Ted Cruz tried to paint himself as the most compelling non-Trump.  He never got into the gutter to fight with Trump but did hammer home policy differences.
Marco Rubio offered a sunnier, less combative side tonight.  Senator Rubio's campaign seems to have decided to end the insult comedy tour and instead present the Florida senator as a Next Gen Reformer.  Rubio also seemed to be making a big play for Florida voters in his remarks throughout the debate.
John Kasich likewise seemed to be angling toward many of his homestate voters in his remarks on the economy, his record, and opportunity.
An interesting policy development could be seen in tonight's debate: all four candidates seemed to raise doubts about the current trade consensus.

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