Predictions are hard, especially about the future, and I think it's silly to analyze the impact of debates without any real polling numbers (without them you're just feeling it at us, perhaps with some thoughts about what OTHER beltway people thought about it), but as for the basic point... I never understood why so many political professionals - and I mean ones on The Left - appeared to see Rubio as the Great Republican Threat. He comes across as a not very bright, not very charming, and not very skilled little boy. He doesn't know how to chew the scenery and (supposedly, but not really) piss off liberals quite as much as the other folks, and to the extent that policy substance matters (it should! but who knows?) he's a gibberish fountain. Appeal to Republicans: limited. Appeal to mostly mythical swing voters: very limited. Appeal to actual Democrats: none.