Marco Rubio defied expectations by ending strong and beating out Ted Cruz for second place in South Carolina — just ten percentage points behind Donald Trump. This is a big deal, because if Rubio had come in third place, he would have received no delegates. Instead, because he finished in second place, he received no delegates. You see, South Carolina is a winner-take-all state. So Donald Trump, who got 32.5% of the vote, ended up with all 50 delegates. But Rubio’s strong second place finish (beating Cruz by 0.2 percentage points) will doubtless make many Republican establishment types thrilled that their boy still has a shot at the big kahuna.
There’s a theory for all this. Jeb Bush just dropped out of the race. If you hadn’t heard that, don’t be ashamed. Within 12 hours of his announcement, it wasn’t even listed on the front page of Google News. For months, the only real question was when he would drop out, not if. According to the theory, as people drop out, Rubio will get more and more votes, eventually pushing Cruz out of the way and finally eclipsing Trump.To the Republican establishment, all those Bush votes will go to Marco Rubio. But that’s not true. The Republican base doesn’t make that much sense. Anyway, when Ben Carson drops out a lot of his votes will go to Ted Cruz. And the rest will go to Donald Trump. So it isn’t a great theory, but it’s at least a theory.
A big issue here is that Rubio has largely been given a pass. He was attacked by Christie and failed. Then he was attacked by Cruz and failed. But he’s never been attacked by the real big kahuna: Donald Trump. It will be very interesting to see how the world’s least liked Eagle Scout deals with Trump and Cruz hammering on him at the next debate. I’m thinking something like, “Can I have a bottle of water? Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. Can I have a bottle of water? Let’s dispel…”
Marco Rubio Isn’t a Good Candidate
This gets to something that I’ve been thinking for a long time now. The Republican establishment thinks that Rubio is their best chance in the general election. But they seem to think this because he takes orders well. I don’t see it at all. Imagine for a moment, a general election debate between Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton. Even people who hate Clinton have to admit that when she’s up there on stage, she commands it. If nothing else, she seems competent. You might not like what she would do as president, but there is no doubt at all that she could do the job.
And next to her would be little ol’ Marco Rubio. He’d be all prepared just like any high school student on the debate club. The distinction would be horrifying for conservatives because they would have to admit that all their belief in authority and strength should make them support Clinton. Because Rubio is a wimp. What’s more, if Clinton is a self-serving politician willing to say anything to become president, then Rubio would join ISIS if it gave him a better chance of becoming president.
It’s been fascinating to watch the Republican nomination thus far. When it all started, we were told what a deep bench the Republicans had. (Am I wrong, or is this something that is said every election — and never about Democrats?) But in the end, there were only two people who were actually good candidates: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. And they are both hated by the establishment. Interestingly, they are also both hated by the American people. But if either of them ran against Hillary Clinton, you can imagine an actual fight. If Marco Rubio runs, it is going to be a slaughter. I’m thinking the Republican establishment better start praying that their theory for Rubio’s success is wrong.