Takeaway from the Varsity Debate:

The biggest winners were Cruz and Carson. Both were very articulate, they stayed above the fray with Trump, and were both funny and passionate. Cruz had more substance and actual policy discussion, while Carson showed himself to be thoughtful and measured.

Rubio made a lot of headway with some very good moments.

Huckabee really surprised me. I am definitely not a fan, but he had some very good moments where he used his charm to frame issues the way he wanted.

Rand Paul, who I like, was hard hitting and aggressive, but I’m not sure it played well. He doesn’t have Trump’s charm when being aggressive that way.

Walker was okay. Solid but not inspiring.

Christie had one really good answer about entitlements and was otherwise “meh”.

Why is Kasich in this race? The big thing I learned about him is his dad was a mailman.

Bush just looked bland and had real trouble with the Common Core and Planned Parenthood questions.

Trump is loved because he doesn’t take any guff and he is a tough guy standing up to the media. But he didn’t offer any real answers. He didn’t offer any real solutions. He had a few funny moments but nothing like Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, or Rubio, and he had several moments where he just came off as a jerk. He also had some really bad answers that conservatives won’t like. But based on what I saw on Twitter tonight, I’m not sure it will damage him in the polls at all. His supporters seem unshakeable.

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