The November 8 Nightmare (or Dream): Why Electability/Likeability Matters (Cruz vs Rubio)

It’s November 8, 2016, 8pm.  The election results are starting to pull in slowly.  New York, Pennslvania, and Maryland get called early for Clinton.  Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee are in the bag for Cruz.  Then as the electoral fog dissipates, the contested battleground states are revealed.

At 25% reporting, we have a horserace!

Wisconsin: 53% Clinton, 46% Cruz

Colorado: 50% Clinton, 49% Cruz

Nevada: 49% Clinton, 49% Cruz

Florida: 50% Clinton, 49% Cruz

Ohio: 48% Clinton, 49% Cruz

Virginia: 50% Clinton, 48% Cruz

North Carolina: 49% Clinton, 49% Cruz

New Mexico: 48% Clinton, 50% Cruz

Then CNN projects Wisconsin and Colorado for Clinton!  The flurry continues, with Fox News projecting Nevada and New Mexico for Cruz!  It comes down to the battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Only 1 point separates the candidates in each race.  Then like a flash of lightning: “Clinton takes Florida!”  Then 15 minutes later: “Clinton takes Ohio!”  Finally, the anticlimactic endings of Virginia and North Carolina also falling to Clinton, as conservatives ponder what went wrong.  They will be pondering how many Supreme Court justices Clinton will be able to appoint.  They will be resigned to the fact that ObamaCare is permanent, Roe is permanent, Obergefell is permanent, and all our entitlements are permanent.  A conservative generation lost for good.

It could have been different with Rubio.

Switch to the alternate universe with Rubio as the Republican nominee.  It is November 8, 2016.  Rubio just finished campaigning, with Ohio’s Kasich at his side, with an optimistic message unifying all 3 wings of the Republican party (wooing Trump, Cruz, and Bush supporters).  Throughout the year Rubio spent time expanding the big tent, especially going after the important Latino vote (which Bush got 40% to win 12 years earlier).  Rubio, the master communicator both in English and in Spanish, forcefully argued against the continuation of the Obama/Clinton agenda, and won all 3 debates with Clinton.  Americans of all stripes, and especially millennials and minorities, could relate to Rubio’s humble beginnings as well as his desire not to be judged by identity but by merit.

At 25% reporting, we have a horserace!

Wisconsin: 51% Clinton, 48% Rubio

Colorado: 47% Clinton, 51% Rubio

Nevada: 47% Clinton, 51% Rubio

Florida: 47% Clinton, 51% Rubio

Ohio: 46% Clinton, 51% Rubio

Virginia: 48% Clinton, 52% Rubio

North Carolina: 47% Clinton, 51% Rubio

New Mexico: 47% Clinton, 52% Rubio

CNN projects Wisconsin for Clinton!  Then, like a flash of lightning, the tide starts turning for Rubio: Colorado!  Nevada!  Florida! Virginia! North Carolina! New Mexico!  And finally, Fox News confirms that Ohio has gone for Rubio.  Republicans rejoice.  Conservatives rejoice.  Evangelicals rejoice.  Pro-lifers rejoice.  Trump supporters rejoice.  Cruz supporters rejoice.  America rejoices.  For now there is a chance to turn the country towards the right path of individual liberty and freedom.  Now the Supreme Court, which was hanging in the balance, can be stacked with conservatives, ensuring that our children and grandchildren can experience the same freedoms that we have.

This is why ELECTABILITY and LIKEABILITY matters. 

Here’s the Real Clear Politics Head-to-Head (average of many polls).  Note that +4pts is the difference between electoral defeat (the GOP nightmare) and an electoral landslide (the GOP dream):

Cruz vs Clinton: TIE nationally

Rubio vs Clinton: Rubio +4 nationally

Trump vs Clinton: Clinton +5 nationally

Let’s also do a deep dive into one of the key battleground states, Virginia.  Head-to-head in Virginia, here are the RCP poll averages:

Cruz vs Clinton: Clinton +6 in Virginia

Rubio vs Clinton: Clinton +1 in Virginia

Trump vs Clinton: Clinton +11 in Virginia

So as you can see with the important state of Virginia, we do not have the luxury of nominating a non-likeable candidate.  Think about how much harder Ohio and Colorado are.

What about among Hispanics?  Some believe Republicans need to clear a 45% Hispanic vote hurdle in 2016 to win.  Gallup’s favorability numbers show the following:

Cruz net favorability: -7

Rubio net favorability: +5

Trump net favorability: -51 (yes, that is “negative fifty-one”)

In Rubio we have a once-in-a-generation mixture of a principled conservative who is also very uniquely electable and tailor-made for America’s shifting demographics.

I urge you to consider supporting Rubio, especially if he places above Cruz in the South Carolina primary.  The next 50 years in America depends on your choice.  Let’s set aside minor differences and go with a surer bet.