The senator is now a threat not just to the rest of the establishment candidates, but Donald Trump and Ted Cruz as well. Cruz’s campaign wants to prevent Rubio from getting a victory in New Hampshire before the evangelical-heavy South Carolina primary, Politico reports. (“If he doesn’t win in New Hampshire, does he win in South Carolina? Or beyond?” a Cruz adviser said.)
Rubio might try to deflect criticism with charm. But if you watch him enough, it’s clear he’s not quite as charming as you expect him to be, despite being young and handsome. He sounds a bit too rehersed (here’s an amusing supercut of Rubio’s stump speeches). His voice rises toward a yelp for emphasis, and his voice sometimes has a sing-songy quality. Even if you were never a bully, you kind of want to pick on him.
Trump, the chief GOP bully, will be back in the debate tonight, fresh after skipping the last one. He’ll be at center stage, flanked by Rubio and Ted Cruz. Trump will likely attack Cruz for, he claims, cheating in the Iowa caucuses. But he’ll also probably have a nice insult prepared for Rubio. Trump’s insults tend to stick, because they’re often just a tiny bit true, so maybe he’ll pick on Rubio’s student council president demeanor.