There were few fireworks at Wednesday's Republican debate in Miami. No major flops either (though Vivek Ramaswamy continued to prove he's unfit to be president and, in the famous words of Chris Christie at a previous debate, he sounds more "like ChatGPT.")
Was there a clear winner? With Donald Trump not on stage--instead holding a rally about 10 miles away in Hialeah--can we truly declare one?
Wednesday was a good night for Ron DeSantis. With only five candidates on stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, he had a chance to talk at length about Israel, gunning down Mexican cartels, and other topics.
Meanwhile, at Trump's Hialeah rally, the focus wasn't an unstable world or policy discussions. It was Trump, as usual.
He took his adoring audience on a gallop down memory lane, reviewing his greatest hits--mean-spirited nicknames, murderous illegal immigrants and all.
Most amazing, as always, were Trump's shameless accusations that the "radical left Democrat communists" are shredding the Constitution and gutting the rule of law. "We are not the ones endangering American democracy," he said. "We are the ones saving it."
This from the man who incited the Jan. 6 Capitol assault on U.S. democracy, faces charges in Georgia that he "unlawfully conspired" to change the 2020 election outcome while participating in a "criminal enterprise," and vows to use the hammer of the law to rain down retribution on his enemies.