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“Forced To Show His Hand”: Marco Rubio; By ‘NeverTrump,’ I Only Mean ‘I’m Never Voting For Donald Trump In The Republican Primary’

Marco Rubio has rebranded his presidential campaign as the “NeverTrump” candidacy, trying to appeal to conservatives who regard the current front-runner as a dangerous authoritarian they could never support, even if nominated. But it’s clear that Rubio does not subscribe to the “NeverTrump” analysis. At Thursday night’s debate, he conceded he would vote for whomever the party nominates, even Trump. Asked about it again on a radio interview, Rubio reaffirmed his position. “For me, I’m never voting for Donald Trump in the Republican primary … that’s the point that I was making,” he explained. So that means Rubio can count on at least one vote for himself in Florida’s March 15 primary.

Obviously, the (completely justified) passion behind the NeverTrump movement is useful for Rubio’s political ambitions. But it’s only useful up until such time as the party selects a nominee. If the nominee is Trump, Rubio will need to fall in line to have a career in Republican politics. And if Rubio manages to pull the nomination out of some contested-convention scenario, he’ll also need to patch things up with Trump so his voters turn out.

But by admitting he’s not really with “NeverTrump,” Rubio undercuts his appeal to Republican elites. The point of that campaign is to tell the party Establishment not to make its peace with Trump. A Trump nomination, they are saying, will split the party in two and cause a large schismatic faction to either stay home or back a splinter candidacy. That threat is designed to stop, or at least slow, the trickle of Establishment surrender to the front-runner. But that tactic only works if the NeverTrumpers can make the threat credible. Some of them will follow through, but a lot of them — especially the ones whose careers are most closely tied to partisan politics — are bluffing. Rubio has been forced to show his hand.


By: Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, March 4, 2016

March 7, 2016 Posted by | Establishment Republicans, GOP Primary Debates, Marco Rubio | , , , , | 3 Comments

“Rubio’s Big Fade”: As Cruz Crushes Caucuses, GOP Establishment Needs A Drink And A Hug

Ted Cruz crushed the Kansas and Maine caucuses on “Super Saturday” while Donald Trump narrowly won the Louisiana and Kentucky prizes. But perhaps the biggest news was Marco Rubio fading in the field to a distant third place, despite racking up major endorsements across the map.

Over the past six weeks, the GOP establishment has moved from denial to anger to bargaining in the stages of grief that have accompanied this outsider election. But with Rubio’s big fade, the Hail Mary of a brokered convention looks even less likely. And what’s left of the party’s center-right is heading for the next stage of depression. A hug and a drink are in order, as their party prepares to be wrested away from reform Republicans.

How bad was it?

Well, their unofficial standard bearer, Marco Rubio, got schlonged.

The Florida Republican—struggling to present himself as the establishment-friendly alternative to Donald Trump—had perhaps his worst night yet, racking up zero wins, and failing to even snag a second-place finish anywhere.

In fact, Rubio finished third in three of the four states contested on Saturday. And with just 8 percent, the Florida senator fell to fourth in Maine—failing to get the minimum 10 percent necessary to win any delegates.

Trump pounced on this, opening his West Palm Beach victory press conference with a call for Rubio to drop out.

“Marco has to get out of the race. Has to,” Trump said.

The math for Rubio isn’t pretty.

There’s now no question that Rubio’s decision to descend to Trump’s level of discourse has been a total failure. The attacks on the size of Trump’s hands, the jokes about him wetting himself, the “con artist” name-calling, have all fallen flat.

And the losses on Saturday could rob his campaign of desperately needed momentum. Rubio has repeatedly stated that he expects to win in his home state of Florida on March 15. And, of course, that’s technically possible. But he has yet to lead in a single public poll of the state. And he doesn’t want to talk about what he’ll do if Florida doesn’t work out.

The billionaire businessman, with the flair of a pro wrestler, said he hoped for a head-to-head match-up with Cruz.

“I would love to take Ted on one-on-one,” he growled. “I want Ted one-on-one.”

If Rubio takes Trump’s advice, then some hot Cruz/Trump one-on-one action could be in our future. Best election ever.


By: Betsy Woodruff, With Reporting by Tim Mak; The Daily Beast, March 6, 2016

March 7, 2016 Posted by | Establishment Republicans, GOP Primaries, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz | , , , | 2 Comments

“Super-Duper Tuesday”: March 15 Could Be A Bigger Deal For The 2016 Presidential Race Than Super Tuesday

A few weeks ago, I began to map out the March Madness that is the race for the White House. There has been a lot of focus on yesterday’s March 1 Super Tuesday line up. On the Democratic side after all, 859 delegates were at stake, roughly 20 per cent of the total. Republicans had about 25 per cent at stake.

For both parties, things shook out more or less as expected: advantage Clinton and Trump. But, given the results, one can argue that the lead up to March 15 and that big day may be even more critical.

For the Democrats, 11 states are up in the next two weeks with nearly 1,000 at stake, more than yesterday’s total. Three of these are caucuses – Maine, Nebraska and Kansas – and the rest are primaries. Michigan next week has 130 delegates, Florida has 214, Illinois has 156, Ohio has 143, North Carolina has 107 and Missouri has 71. As we know with the Democrats, there are no winner-take-all primaries and delegates are awarded proportionately.

For the Republicans, one can argue that the winner-take-all primaries of Florida and Ohio are now looming as critical to any effort to stop Donald Trump. Sen. Marco Rubio has to win Florida and Gov. John Kasich has to win Ohio. If Trump wins those states, plus does well in the other 13 contests, he will be well on his way to securing a majority of the delegates.

Clinton is piling up large delegate leads in states with very diverse populations, especially in the South. She stands to not only win Louisiana and Mississippi handily in the next couple of weeks but also could score big victories in Illinois (with a 43 percent non-white Democratic primary electorate), North Carolina (38 percent non-white), Florida (34 percent non-white), and possibly Michigan (28 percent non-white) and Ohio (24 percent non-white).

Sen. Bernie Sanders can not win enough delegates by scoring victories in caucus states like Maine, Nebraska or Kansas. He must win the big states and Michigan is the first up on March 8. He has the money to stay in and compete but this is now about the math. He can’t continue to lose major delegate-rich states, especially by large margins.

So, the next two weeks and March 15 will be very important for Clinton’s march to 2,383 delegates and Trump’s effort to amass 1,237. Unless Sanders can show that he can win in a number of these big delegate-rich states, he will not be able to overtake Clinton, especially with her huge lead with the 712 super delegates. Also, Republicans’ efforts to stop Trump may rise or fall in the next two weeks.

There will be more to come, but we may be talking about the Super-sized Tuesday come March 15.


By: Peter Fenn, Democratic Political Strategist and Head of Fenn Communications; U. S. News and World Report, March 2, 2016

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Democratic Presidential Primaries, Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Rubio Suddenly Notices Trump”: The Fervor Of Someone Who Has Undergone A Deathbed Conversion

What a difference a sense of urgency makes.

Having finally stood up to the bully Donald Trump in Thursday night’s debate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio continued his assault on the GOP front-runner on NBC’s “Today” show.

But the most remarkable part of Rubio 2.0 is the hypocrisy and shamelessness of that same urgency.

“We’re on the verge of having someone take over the conservative movement and the Republican Party who’s a con artist,” Rubio said. “His target audience is working Americans who are really struggling over the last few years in this economy but he has spent a career sticking it to working Americans.” Remember the phrases “con artist” and “sticking it to working Americans” – you’re going to hear that a lot from Rubio, who famously excels at hitting his talking points. In the “Today” interview, for example, he used the former expression four times and the latter three in a four-and-a-half minute interview. (The line of attack is actually quite strong, not least because it has the virtue of being correct – this morning’s clips will make good fodder for Hillary Clinton’s admen in the fall.)

And how did we get to be “on the verge of” of a Trump victory? Rubio’s answer, of course, is the media: He, Rubio, has had articles written about his driving record, he complained, while the tyrant of Trump Tower is “always making things up and no one holds him accountable for it. … He’s being treated with kid gloves by many in the media in the hopes that he’s the nominee. Some of them are biased – they’d love to see a liberal like Donald Trump take over the Republican Party. And others know he’s easy to beat once he gets there.”

It’s as if Rubio just wandered into the race and realized that the party of Saint Ronald of Reagan is on the verge of being taken over by Trump. How could such a thing happen?

Don’t blame Marco! It’s not like he’s been sitting meekly for months watching up close as Trump runs roughshod over the party, right? Marco Rubio hasn’t been on the debate stage and the hustings, treating Trump with “kid gloves,” failing to hold him accountable for his nonsensical ravings and – lest we forget – abetting his neofascist Muslim bashing, right? It was literally two days ago on the very same TV show that Rubio dismissed the idea that he had to attack Trump as “a media narrative,” piously saying he “didn’t run for office to tear up other Republicans.” (Except for Ted Cruz, whom he was busy ripping apart.)

I get that Rubio’s campaign learned the lesson of Jeb Bush and was smart enough to deliberately not telegraph the volley of punches they planned for Trump. And Rubio doesn’t bear all the blame alone – fellow survivor Ted Cruz, for example, made a conscious strategy of bear-hugging Trump for much of the last several months. But Rubio’s shock – shock! – that Trump has been allowed to get this far is rather rich.

Rubio suddenly has the fervor of someone who has undergone a deathbed conversion, which is pretty much what he has. As I wrote yesterday, the extent to which Trump is in the catbird seat is reflected by the fact that the Florida primary – where the former reality TV star is doubling Rubio in the polls – is an existential test for the freshman senator but not Trump. A loss there kills Rubio, while vanquishing Trump would merely mean holding serve at home.

So we’ll see if Rubio’s mad stop-Trump scramble pays off. If it doesn’t and he wants to blame someone for losing his beloved conservative movement to a con artist, he can start by looking in the mirror.


By: Robert Schlesinger, Managing Editor for Opinion, U.S. News & World Report, February 26, 2016

February 29, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Marco Rubio | , , , , , | 2 Comments


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