No Matter Who Wins the GOP Nomination, Hillary's Going to Have a Fight On Her Hands

Tuesday's debate wasn't boring, exactly. There was a good deal of substance and some demolition derby, too. Also, there was some real news toward the end when Trump doubled down on staying in the Republican party and not running a third-party candidacy if someone else is the nominee. But I don't know that the debate altered the strategic balance of power in this race in any meaningful way.

But it did get me thinking about the general election. To my mind, the most likely nominees, in descending order of probability, are Rubio, Cruz, and Trump. And watching them, it struck me that the consensus views about each of their chances against Hillary Clinton may not be correct.

Let's start with Rubio, who remains my favorite to win the nomination. (And please understand that I mean "favorite" in the Vegas sense, i.e. "the guy with best odds to win"; not "the guy I want to win.") The theoretical poll match-ups show Rubio with a slim lead over Clinton. I think this vastly understates his potential. Watch Rubio on the debate stage and he looks like a creature genetically engineered in a lab to crush HRC. By dint of his youth and energy, he turns her greatest strengths into weaknesses. He's a devastatingly good debater. As he showed Tuesday night, he can take a punch. And his political instincts are brilliant.

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