Voters on both sides were sending a clear message of no confidence in the economic order. Who can remember a presidential campaign in which the most extreme candidates have done so well in the first round?
It is true, of course, that each party may ultimately embrace a nominee closer to the center. That is obviously the case with Democrats where Hillary Clinton remains the favorite, and Marco Rubio’s surprisingly strong showing will encourage GOP elites to believe they, too, can secure the nomination for a more moderate candidate.
Here’s a list of 20 key issues. Cruz and Rubio either strongly or substantially agree on 18 of them. The dime’s worth of difference between them is that Cruz wants to privatize social security and Rubio says he doesn’t (Florida!), and Cruz says he doesn’t think marijuana is a gateway drug (Rubio probably has to play the unrepentant drug warrior because of his Miami Vice uncle). So even the tiny differences between them split in terms of which one of them is more politically moderate, relatively speaking.
On basically everything else they’re indistinguishable, except that Cruz is despised in a purely personal way by GOP insiders, which hardly makes Rubio more moderate, as opposed to less slappable.
But the conventions of political journalism more or less require Gergen to spew this nonsense from his MacBook Pro, so there you go.