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The Last Roundup
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The Last Roundup

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Thursday night’s Republican debate may well be Cruz and Rubio’s last chance to really stop Trump. The results of this final joint appearance before Super Tuesday on March 1 may well decide whether Trump will sweep to the Republican nomination or whether there is indeed still going to be a challenge.

It seems readily clear to most analysts and observers that only a successful two-pronged attack against Trump by Cruz and Rubio—and not a continuation of their own personal in-fighting—can perhaps slow down the apparent Trump juggernaut. To date neither of them have had the strength to dish it out against Trump, knowing full well that he will slam them right back and make Christie’s jumping on Rubio look like a walk in the park. They genuinely believe that even Cruz, very smart though he may be, will not be able, willing, or able to slam against Trump. If they fail to stop Trump tonight—leading to Tuesday—it may be all over except for the counting for the Republican nomination. Unless Trump is bloodied tonight it may all be over on Tuesday.

The theory floating about as to the Cruz-Rubio reticence is that a possible vice-presidential tapping may be in the works–especially for Rubio—if he does not engage Trump in a nasty shouting match. It seems that it might be a strong—though not necessarily winning ticket—if Rubio ran as Trump’s V.P.   Clearly, Rubio would be sitting pretty as the heir apparent if they lost. In addition, since he is not running for re-election in Florida for his Senate seat, it would give him four years to build himself up against a President Clinton and to secure an enormous war chest to fight off all other potential aspirants.

As for the Governor Kasich and Dr. Carson it seems like a mere distraction at best from the main focus, unless Kasich can pull a rabbit out of a hat. Between needing to win his home state of Ohio and raise a bundle of money very fast at the same time, Kasich needs to face the reality that it is over for him as well. Why Carson has stayed in so long boggles the mind!

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