[Ed. – I’m not sure Rubio is as out of it as this WaPo article implies. This looks like someone’s angling to set up an all-out war between Trump and Cruz, so someone else will be left standing.]
As the presidential primary race moves into a more urgent and combative phase, there is growing acceptance among Republicans, including the Washington and financial elite, that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the two candidates most likely to become the party’s nominee.
Their commanding performances at the sixth debate — along with their continued dominance in national and early state polls — have solidified the conclusion of many Republicans that the campaign is becoming a two-person contest.
Long expected to become a race between an outsider and an establishment candidate, it is coming down instead as one between two outsiders, with dwindling time for their rivals to change the trajectory before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1. …
“Trump and Cruz sucked all the oxygen out of the room, which is bad news for the establishment folks,” said Barry Bennett, a veteran GOP strategist who recently resigned as campaign manager to Ben Carson. “It doesn’t look like much is going to stop them. They’re in a tier off to themselves, and I think our nominee is going to be Cruz or Trump.”