We don't even need to wait for hindsight on this clusterfuck to see how consistently this "deep bench" managed to hand it over to Trump, over and over and over again. It begins with there simply being too many of them to begin with, preventing a consolidation of opposition. Plus they're all just fucking horrible; it's a sad state of affairs that of the five remaining candidates, as awful as Trump is, he may be the least awful of them.
But third and perhaps most importantly, Trump has read and galvanized the base in a way that the others, stuck in traditional ways and concerns about "decorum" and such like, have been slow to adapt to. John Ellis Bush was the epitome of that pose, as if it would be gauche to use anything but the politest of euphemism when proposing the gutting of reproductive rights, fucking over the working class one more blessed time, or turning this or that area of the planet into glowing glass. They can talk about killing millions of people far away, or making millions of Americans' lives worse, without breaking a sweat, but telling the nasty truth about Dubya's Folly makes his li'l brother's monocle fall out in shock.
Cruz is simply too stubborn and spiteful, and too cornered by his colleagues' well-known loathing for him, to give up, even though he must realize now that he's toast. If he was half as smart as he thinks he is, Cruz would make some sort of deal with Rubio right now, drop out and throw his support to Rubio, because the latter actually still has a small chance, at least until Florida.
At any rate, turns out Rubio and Cruz did figure out that they need to punch back, and the former may even have drawn a little blood on Chump, with a nifty turnaround from Rubio's infamous "repeating robot" debate performance a few weeks ago.
"No, I'm not -- no, no, no, no," Trump said, drowned out by audience laughter. "I don't repeat myself. I don't repeat myself."
If Rubio isn't using that to carpet-bomb his home states and the Super Tuesday states by tomorrow morning, he's an even bigger idiot than he seems.
As mentioned above, the more we get to know Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, and Kasich, the more we realize that all of them would be horrible presidents, for various reasons. Cruz and Carson are religious fanatics, and Carson is a moron to boot. The only reason Carson is still in this is because he's just smart enough to know that his supporters are even dumber, and thus can be fleeced for a little bit longer. He should start a televangelist teevee/web network and sell them micro-vials of "blessed" extra virgin olive oil or something. He'll definitely get a lucrative book deal out of this, as the same dopes who buy Sarah Palin's books and don't read them will buy his book and not read it.
Rubio is an empty vessel, who will say whatever his bankrollers tell him to. He appears not to have many coherent convictions of his own; this may be because he's had several religions over his lifetime. All those conversions can mess with your head. The best you can hope for with Rubio is that the money guys can keep his fundamentalist impulses under control.
Kasich is intelligent, but a bit of a wingnut, and a lot of an asshole -- he's actually proud that he was offended by the wood-chipper scene in Fargo, so much so that not only did he turn the movie off "right there in the middle" (obviously it's at the end), but he harangued Blockbuster to stop carrying the movie. As one web commenter rightly noted, a normal person just turns the movie off, but an asshole tries to harass the video store to stop carrying the movie. That and Kasich, just a few days ago, defunded Planned Parenthood in Ohio, just because he could.
Speaking of Planned Parenthood, that was another of the inspired bits I caught from the debate, Trump in one breath describing all the important work PP does for women's health and how he'd still defund it because he's so pro-life. His cherry on top the turd cake was his assertion that PP's percentage of abortions is supposedly low, but that he, Trump, did not trust those numbers. (For the record, abortions are about 3% of what PP does, not to mention that the Hyde Amendment expressly forbids any federal money to be spent on abortion-related activities.) That's an especially perverse brand of logic.
And it's of a piece with everything else the man says. It's all bizarro-world bullshit, tautological jingoism in a bad hairstyle. Things are true because he says they are, and if someone fact-checks him, he just talks shit about them. "Facts" and "truth" are meaningless to these people.
I get what commenter Mojrim over at Ed's is trying to say, but I disagree -- Trump's followers do seem to be mostly ignorant and stupid. I mean, there's been a lot of articles and a lot of questions asked, and I'll be goddamned if any of the Trumpalos' responses make a lick of sense. It mostly seems to be post-Palin culture-vulture jabber -- I can't say "Merry Christmas" anymore and cartoons ain't what they used to be. Intelligent people don't give such things as rationales for selecting the next leader of the free world. Those are things that morons say.
And I've watched a couple of the rallies on YouTube. They're nothing but empty boasting and pro-wrestling schtick. Only a complete moron would wait for hours in line to sit through that mess, cheer it on throughout, and come away thinking is was revelatory or revolutionary. Again, we're all angry, it's just the fools that want to burn it all down because of their anger -- which, I might add, was entirely self-imposed. They voted for the people who sent their jobs overseas, over and over and over again. Now they wonder why they're broke. Well, fuck 'em. They got exactly what they voted for all those years. This is why I don't feel sorry for Kansas. You voted for the shit sandwich, bon appetit.
Beyond the lies, the schtick, the verbal cockpunching, the ShamWow-style substance-free late-night marketing pitches, the idiot celebrity-worshippers that populate his audiences, there is another, deeper reason why Trump really would be an awful president. It's that for someone who (to hear him tell it) is the most successful, wealthy, intelligent person ever to bestride the oceans like a mighty colossus, Trump is the most thin-skinned, narcissistic prick I have ever encountered. His Twitter feed reads like an emotionally retarded eighth-grader's slam book. No slight is too small for a response, no grudge too petty to ever be let go. He's the kind of guy who would launch nukes at Moscow because he thought he caught Putin looking at his wife's tits. He's as ill-suited for the office as the rest of the Republican assholes.
There's going to be rubble at the end of this one, folks. It's going to be interesting to see what emerges from it.