I know everyone is dying to know...
I'm calling this one for The Donald, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio.
The Donald kept his aggression but lost his bellicosity. He was a tiny bit more thoughtful and seemed less like a gigantic asshole. He showed some humor and, almost, a little self-deprecation.
Carly Fiorina is incredibly articulate. She is focused, knowledgable and smart but, even more, she is able to express herself with amazing clarity.
Marco Rubio deserves a mention. He seemed relatively solid and composed. His presence on a national stage didn't seem like a bizarre non-sequitor this time.
Most of the rest showed some improvement, as one would expect. They have experience now. Still, none of them seemed to deserve to have a boost in the polls.
Ben Carson's prominence continues to amaze me. He just doesn't seem smart. He doesn't have any ideas. He is conciliatory and kind of dumb. Scott Walker was much better this time. Still an empty suit, but last time he really seemed like an idiot.
Chris Christie is said to have had a stronger performance but, I don't really see it. He was fine, but who cares. Jeb! was still without inspiration and, to me, seemed a little desperate to be taken seriously.
Huckabee and Cruz continue their role as the cruel, evil ones. Rand Paul is, imho, a cipher.
Two other things struck me.
First is the amount of increased weaseling. Again and again these people repudiated their previous positions. There was no one, except, sort of, The Donald, who stuck to their guns.
The other thing came to me in the final segment. The question asked how the world would "look different" after their presidency. Only The Donald answered the question. The rest talked about themselves or criticized Obama. The Donald said something to the effect, "It will be great. America will be great. More jobs. More money. More everything. We will be respected. It will be great."
Now, I know that's entirely bullshit but, it does show, ironically, that he has the confidence and vision to talk about something other than himself. Based on those answers, for the rest of them, the most important thing about their potential presidency is them. For Donald Trump, the most important thing is that "It's going to be great."
I think that's why he's doing so well and it's a lesson I hope that Hillary can learn. It's odd that this weird egomaniac can offer a lesson in selflessness and it's benefits as a campaign tactic.