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.
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.