Donald Trump stood center stage Wednesday night at the CNN debate when it finally came: the pile on.
At the Fox news debate back in August, most of the Republican primary challengers ducked The Donald. But after weeks of watching Trump soar in the polls, almost the entire field was ready to go at him. (And they were more ready to go at each other, too. The visual shows many more mentions amongst candidates at the longer CNN debate.)
Here's a Vox visualization of the phenomenon:
In August, only Rand Paul and John Kasich had the nerve to mention Trump more than once. Then Wednesday, things changed. Jeb Bush is the best example. At the Fox debate, Bush mentioned Trump just once. But Wednesday night he brought up Trump 12 times. Even mild-mannered Scott Walker mentioned Trump twice Wednesday.
As Jon Allen writes, the pile on marked the moment when things changed for Trump. The field isn't running scared. Instead, his Teflon is starting to thin. While the media and the pundit class ding him for it, the question is whether it will matter to voters.