When asked about the growing tension between himself and his former political mentor, Republican primary contender Marco Rubio brushed it aside. “Jeb is my friend,” he said. “I have tremendous respect for him as a person and for what he did for Florida as governor.”

But in a primary campaign that has seen promising candidates like Rubio and Bush pushed to the margins while voters rally around Donald Trump and Ben Carson, this is one Florida friendship that’s being put to the test. For both candidates, a loss in Florida could be the end of the ballgame. Not only would it be deeply embarrassing to lose in one’s home state, it would send a distressing message to the rest of the country. If Florida doesn’t want you, why would we?

Both Rubio and Bush are losing – badly – to the outsider candidates in Florida polls.

Recognizing what’s at stake, both campaigns have turned up the heat.

“We will not change direction if all we do is keep electing the same kind of people,” Rubio said in New Hampshire. “This election cannot be one of those elections where we just promote the next person in line, where we just vote for the person the experts tell us we have to vote for.”

“We’ve got a president that the American people supported based on the fact that he was an eloquent guy,” Bush said in Iowa. “And he had nothing in his background that would suggest he could lead.”

Neither Bush nor Rubio are specifically targeting one another, but it’s not particularly hard to read between the lines. Rubio is running a campaign based on freshness, generational conflict, and youth. Bush is running a campaign based on leadership experience, credentials, and stoicism. And since there isn’t much daylight between the two when it comes to policy, it’s not surprising to see the attacks shift toward more esoteric concerns.

For instance, there was a dust-up this week between the campaigns over financing. Each side dug into the other over minor discrepancies over how much each campaign had raised. It’s hard to see how these issues will influence voters on the fence, but common sense doesn’t always factor in to political strategy.

If these two had any sense, they would stop attacking each other and come to a decision. As long as both of them are in the race, they are just going to cancel each other out. They are fighting for second place (at best). Not everyone is aboard the Trump Train, but until moderate Republicans can coalesce around a single establishment candidate, they might as well be. One of them should drop out and soon.

Frankly, that goes for about half the candidates. The time has passed for Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie. John Kasich has about as much chance of winning the nomination as Jim Webb does on the other side of the race. It’s time to narrow the field in the interests of the American people. We have real issues to face next year.