The CNN Debate just ended, and I have only one clear impression — Donald Trump has so completely emasculated Jeb Bush that this may be Jeb’s last hurrah.

Before getting to that, I don’t think there was a clear winner. Trump was Trump; I don’t think he gained or lost support based on this performance. He reiterated his pledge not to run independent, clearly and unequivocally.

Rubio was very good … except that for the first time people (particularly Rand Paul) hit him over the head hard on the Gang of 8 bill. I thought Cruz had some strong moments, but I just don’t know that this will catapult him. Of the others, the only one who made any impression was Carly Fiorina, when she went after Hillary; but she played the gender card pretty hard, so I don’t know if that turned people off.

Now the big impression.

Donald Trump has mastered the art of making Jeb look small. Even when Jeb scores a substantive point about Trump, Jeb lessens his own stature for the fight after Trump mocks him.

Here is an exchange that some Jeb supporters tweeted out as supposedly Kaboom! on Trump. The issue was Trump’s statement that he would “take out” the families of terrorists as a deterrent. Substantively, Jeb was fine.

But visually Jeb just looked weak.

Here’s another one. They both seemed childish. That hurts Jeb, not Trump.

Trump is kryptonite to Jeb Bush.

Whether it’s “fair” or not is irrelevant.


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