Rubio had been hailed as the establishment choice after his third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. His poll numbers rose sharply in New Hampshire. And then Christie owned him in Saturday’s debate. But that sick own didn’t win him voters. Ballots are still being counted, but Christie is currently in sixth place, with a bit under 10 percent of the vote. That’s about where Christie’s poll numbers hovered in early January.
News coverage of the debate mostly focused on Rubio’s robotic repetition of one talking point, not that Christie called it and then made Rubio nervous enough to say the same line a fourth time. And other candidates have more to offer than a single debate performance. If you want to vote for the meanest, rudest guy in the race (and no cuts to entitlements!), you’ve got Donald Trump. If you want to vote for the guy no one likes, you’ve got Ted Cruz. If you want a governor, there’s John Kasich, who’s from a swing state and doesn’t have a major bridge scandal, or Jeb Bush, who is related to some former presidents. Sure, it’s possible Christie could come from behind in the next states. But even if he doesn’t, he’ll always have those glorious Vines.