So, I watched about 3/4 of the debate last night, and none of the happy hour debate that preceded it. I really didn't see much that surprised me. I think Megan scored a dent in Trump's armor when she asked Trump about disgusting things he has said about women. Trump immediately tried to play victim and redirect, and that went flat, IMO. Ben Carson, to me, was a complete dud and did nothing but speak in platitudes while never really answering any question; I tend to think Fiorina will replace him next time around.
I thought some of the more interesting exchanges were between Rand Paul and Trump and Paul and Christie. In honesty, I kind of felt for Paul in that it seemed to me like he was trying to introduce some reality into the discussion, and people weren't hearing it. Christie and Trump, to me, both are giving the people what they want, which is a candidate who has the bluster to say, "I don't care what it looks like, I'm gonna FORCE people to accept my solution because I'm right." That is still selling very well. I think Paul had a plan to go on the offensive against Trump for sure, and used Christie as a prop to tout the constitution.
In general, I thought the governors did pretty well, except for Walker. Admittedly, I see him as nothing but a bitch of the Koch's but I don't think he really did anything all that impressive. Christie, I thought, answered a few questions pretty well. Bush did well enough to keep his campaign going, and I thought Kasich had one of the better responses of the night by acknowledging that Trump has "hit a nerve" with the American people and that people would be foolish to discount him. It was less a suck up to Trump and more a pronouncement that Trump is the messenger.
As for Trump, he was more of the same. Most of what he said, I think, could be summed up as, "I am HUGE and America will be HUGE if I am elected." When asked about his bankruptcies, Trump to make the distinction that he personally had never gone bankrupt, and that was acknowledged and when the issue was pressed, Trump basically said, "Hey, these guys that lent me money are not nice people. They are sharks." He also kept saying over and over, "I used the rules to my advantage", and I think he opened the door to really make the point that the rules are vastly different for people with wealth than they are for average people. I think he also kind of insuated that he might do the same with our debt.
Overall, Trump was Trump and though his descent may not have started, I'm kind of thinking he has reached his peak altitude and will be nothing more than the messenger at this point that Republican primary voters are pissed off. This is not anything new. Kasich, Christie and Bush, IMO, did what they needed to stay relevant. The rest, to me, did not really move the meter all that much.