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Too Weak a Reed

AP Photo / Matt Rourke

Trump's insults are childish and often silly. But they are almost always very well targeted and slash at some deep vulnerability in his victim. Rubio's off calling Trump orange and small-handed and saying he's flying on "hair force one." These rips must sound awesome if you love Rubio and hate Trump. But actually Rubio is just flailing. The Trump University stuff is real and I think could well be devastating. But they feel like they have to throw everything. And it's not that well targeted. This morning's CNN poll showing Trump with 49% support nationwide, albeit including little reaction from the weekend, cast a pall over the whole manic effort, making it seem less like Rubio had found Trump's hidden weakness and more like he's just losing his remaining dignity along with the race.

Watching this unbelievable and massive spectacle feels like watching a nature documentary with one of those bracing, mesmerizing videos of an iceberg collapse. Rubes is trying. But you keep seeing these establishment bigwigs jumping. (Rats rushing to board the ship!) Christie, LePage, Brewer, Sessions, Kobach. They're like the first mammoth shards sloughing off the edifice, ice hillocks falling away, with the whole process building on itself.

It's true that aside from Christie, none of these endorsers are big national figures, though Sessions is a powerful Senator who owns the anti-immigrant issue on the right. But Rubio's strategy and the strategy of the notional establishment is to press the argument that this isn't even a fight. There's no question, no debate. Trump is an untouchable, a person beyond the pale of the real Republican party, an invader, a virus. But each time a substantial Republican elected official comes out and endorses him it shows that at a minimum it's not that clear cut and maybe not true at all.

New shards keep sloughing off. And it feels like we're nearing that moment where the whole edifice starts to fall all at once. Of course, maybe tomorrow night will change the story dramatically. But I doubt it.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.