Down to the Republican Wire / by marilyn salenger

It's been a fascinating journey from the first Republican Debate to the last before Super Tuesday. We have watched the candidate numbers dwindle, the rhetoric become increasingly vitriolic and the public either cheering or scratching their heads. Republican politics have been turned upside down because no one seemed prepared for the unexpected - the staying power of the now frontrunner, Donald Trump.

Being unprepared in politics can bear treacherous consequences.  Could the Republican party have been so tone deaf to its public that their polling and on the ground operatives in the year leading up the campaign season didn't pick up on the strong division and divisiveness between the different groups forming their electorate? Apparently so. And they are now paying the price as is the rest of the country who has been listening.

The rise of Donald Trump's candidacy will be viewed in history as the result of a period in our country where the split between the haves and have nots finally reached a boiling point. Trump seized the moment, picking up his very public cues on the fly as he whipped up the often frenzied crowds. I believe a part of him is as surprised at his success as many others are, despite all his bravado. 

The Republican Debates this year have provided a vehicle for the candidates to show too little true political dialogue and too much hit and run. Television has helped make them into a near Roman spectacle drawing millions of people, and giving Trump a home turf advantage.

The obvious question now focuses on the future of Donald Trumps's candidacy. Last night's debate was the first time Trump's dirty laundry began to be hung out to the public, and he took some hits. As prepared as he should have been, he sometimes appeared unprepared for that good old taste of his own medicine. 

Marco Rubio took off his mantel of faltering under the heat of Trump's put downs, and this time came loaded with information ammunition that should have come out in the debates and campaign long ago. Admission of a tax audit, hiring illegal immigrants to work his construction sites, hiring foreigners instead of locals at his Palm Beach resort and the Trump University financial mess. It's all been there without being up for debate until now. But it seems the fear tactics used in this campaign were working.

Donald Trump admitted in the post debate spin room that his outrageous behavior, although he didn't use that word, worked for him and got him to this point. What the next point will be remains to be seen.