You want to blow up Donald Trump? Flatter him, and let him keep talking. And hope enough of his supporters drift your way. Or at least get them to think about it. Is this true? An emerging story on Ted Cruz’s strategy not to attack Trump suggests this.

While Trump-haters rail in frustration that the Senator from Texas did not unleash his deadly rhetoric on Trump in Vegas, the poll numbers seem to say that Cruz is on the right track. He’s rising, especially with Tump supporters.

And no one up to now has benefited from attacking Trump. No one has come out a clear winner – or even a winner – in the polls after trading barbs with The Donald. One can understand Jeb Bush unleashing a little anger Trump’s way. He is everything that conventional GOP wisdom might have suggested the party needs. A decade or two ago. And to watch Trump – who’s minute detailed knowledge of the issues is somewhat less than Jeb’s – go from strength to strength in the polls must be maddening. Especially when your A-team has seen it’s numbers go exactly the other way. What gets called a death cross in financial chart-talk.

So is Cruz’s strategy to expand his base of supporters to include – week by week; point by point – Trump’s crowd? And if it is, will it work?

For it to work, for Senator Cruz to win the nomination, Trump must lose big. And he hasn’t so far. Despite some setbacks and some weakness in places like Iowa, he remains strong nationally. You can nitpick and say national polls are meaningless; you have to go state by state. And if Trump is still ahead in early March, what then?

With Rubio having essentially taken over Jeb Bush’s formidable early position, at least in terms of donors and endorsements, the race right now is really a three-way slug-fest where hardly any punches are being thrown Donald Trump’s way. Only third-tier outsiders are willing to criticize Trump, as a matter of principle really.

So the question is, for how long can Ted Cruz play at being nice? And is Trump falling into Cruz’s trap by lauding how nice he is straight from the stage? Or is Trump using a similar strategy? At some point Cruz and Trump have to slug it out? Don’t they??

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