Who Will Beat the Trump at Tonight’s Debate?

Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A new raft of polling shows Donald Trump consolidating and growing his lead, which is the kind of thing that happens when you win elections. The press is full of stories of how Texas is a must-win for Ted Cruz as the latest polls show him either in a dead heat with Trump at 32 percent apiece with Marco Rubio a distant third in the TEGNA/Survey USA poll, or up 12 points over Trump with Rubio a still more distant third in the Austin American-Statesman poll.

Meanwhile the latest Florida Quinnipiac poll shows Trump crushing Rubio, 44 percent to 28 percent.

If Cruz loses Texas, he has to get out. But how does that help stop Trump when the next week Trump rolls over Rubio?

Watch tonight’s debate. If any man but Trump is going to be the GOP nominee, a leader has to emerge tonight who shows he can take Trump down head-to-head.

If Rubio and/or Cruz beat up on each other for small tactical advantages in gaining second place, they are demonstrating they are not the leaders who are up to the task at hand.

Show you are a giant-killer. Go big or go home. It’s literally now or never.

Rich Danker has a great piece at The Daily Caller over why Trump outsmarted Cruz: Trump is the only one who has a campaign message that is about how America will be better off if you elect him. It’s a bumper sticker, true, but it’s a memorable bumper sticker promising to make America great again. And it contains an economic message: China, Mexico, and illegal immigrants are responsible for your economic suffering, but have no fear — the big, bad Trump is going to negotiate them to pieces, and then America will be great again.

Cruz’s campaign message is internal to the conservative movement: I’m the conservative guy, consistent and courageous. Rubio’s “New American Century” seems to be focused on foreign policy, as the phrase is generally heard.

Trump’s core message is simple, memorable, and directed to the country as a whole.

A bad message beats no message at all.

And no, a policy is not a message.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.