Ted Cruz Was Tonight’s Big Winner? Seriously?

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I just took my first look around at post-debate commentary, and there seems to be a consensus that Ted Cruz was the night’s big winner.

Ted Cruz? I barely even noticed him most of the night. How did he end up getting so much pundit love? The answer, it turns out, lies in one (1) exchange early in the debate. Here’s what Cruz said after getting a question about his opposition to John Boehner’s budget deal:

You know, let me say something at the outset. The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. And, you look at the questions — “Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?” “Ben Carson, can you do math?” “John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?” “Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?” “Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?” How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?

That’s it. It got huge applause, of course. Attacks on debate moderators, and the media more generally, always do at Republican debates. I even thought about doing a post rounding up all the shots the candidates took at the media tonight, but then thought better of it.

Anyway, I took Cruz’s attack on the moderators as basically a cheap—and frankly kind of stale—applause line, and thought nothing more about it. But I guess it was actually one of the highlights of the debate. This does not speak well for the overall quality of tonight’s proceedings.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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