On the Democrat side, Hillary's performance in the debate tightened her grip on the nomination. It's hard to see what can dislodge her.
There's the possibility of an FBI indictment. However:
i) DOJ might have to sign off on any indictment, which seems highly unlikely so long as that's in the hands of Democrats.
ii) Even if she is indicted, I doubt most Democrats care.
On the GOP side, Christie and Kasich have tanked at 1% in a new poll, teetering on the brink of asterisk oblivion. Carley has lost points. Jeb is sinking.
At this point I think Rubio, Cruz, and Carson are the most likely nominees.
iii) Carson's odds are hard to handicap. Like Trump, he's a protest candidate. But unlike Trump, he's not off-putting to the base.
Many Trump supporters don't seem to be registered Republicans or social conservatives. So when it comes to Republican primaries, he doesn't appear to have a lot of actual voters in his corner. Rather, he draws his support from people who are disaffected with both parties. So his hot-air balloon may go the way of the Hindenburg the moment it comes into contact with real voters in real primaries. We'll see.
Carson is acceptable to the base in a way that Trump is not. And lately he's shown good political instincts in public comments that seize the moment.
However, it's hard to see him winning a debate with Hillary. Thus far, he is docile and uninformed.
On the other hand, his bedside manner makes him hard to demonize. And the liberal establishment has to be careful about Borking a black presidential candidate. Sure, they tried that with Thomas, but only political junkies followed that debate. A national campaign would draw a different audience.
iv) At the moment, I still think Rubio has the best shot at the nomination. And the best shot in the general election.
In a debate with Hillary, he could hold his own on substance. And his youth might compare well with her age.
One potential problem is that he has no edge. So this would look like a debate between two reasonable candidates. That favors Hillary.
Rubio doesn't strike me as the kind of candidate who will try to make Hillary look bad. I doubt he'd draw attention to how dangerous she is to the Republic, given her lawlessness and dictatorial mindset.
v) Cruz can also cash in on the protest candidate persona. And he's been courting the Trumpkins. Positioning himself so that if Trump loses flames out, Cruz can pick up his supporters.
He's a good fundraiser. Has a strategy for forging a new winning coalition, by targeting neglected voting blocks. Whether he can translate that strategy into reality remains to be seen.
And he's more likely to expose Hillary's liabilities in a debate. But that poses a dilemma.
He lacks charm. And there's a feminist double standard, where she's allowed to say whatever she wants, however she wants, but if a male candidate takes her on, he's "mean." He's "disrespectful" to a woman. So I don't know how that would play out in terms of voter perceptions.