ANALYSIS: Carly Fiorina Leads Way as Republican Candidates Shrink Donald Trump’s Shadow

Trump wasn’t quite neutralized, but he somehow didn’t dominate.

— -- Since nothing seems to have worked in attempts to stop Donald Trump, his rivals tried a new strategy at the second Republican debate: everything.

It didn’t make Trump go away, and nothing is likely to have happened that would make his growing support suddenly crater.

But Trump faded for long stretches -– and seemed more vulnerable than he did at the first debate, in front of a far-more raucous crowd. A tuned-in public saw a frontrunner with limitations in sharp view -– and who seemed to meet his match in the only female candidate in the field.

Trump wasn’t quite neutralized, but he somehow didn’t dominate.

Trump denied, insulted, and attacked right back. While now praising her looks, he called Fiorina a “catastrophe” as a CEO.

“She can’t run any of my companies –- that I can tell you,” he said.

But Trump also continued to not fully answer foreign policy questions, and he was forced into policy debates where his lack of depth was put on uncomfortable display. (Trump: “Arab name, Arab name...”)

But after a public tussle with the female moderator at the last debate, Fiorina got the better of Trump.

Before Republicans can get there, there’s the still-volatile primary. Trump remains center stage, figuratively and literally. No one will be as loud or as “braggadocious,” and he’s unlikely to ever earn the Secret Service name he volunteered for himself: “humble."

For a night, though, Trump seemed to come down to earth – just maybe bound by the laws of political gravity he’s defied to date.