Marco Rubio had a bad night, but he is still one of three plausible candidates for the presidency with Cruz and Trump being the other two. I’m not entirely sure, but Rubio seems to be the kind of guy who thrives when he is the under dog. He certainly gave no airs about being the under dog in his gracious and humble concession speech last night.
I think the key for Rubio going into SC is to really make the case for his conservatism. Yes, he can admit, he doesn’t have entirely orthodox views on immigration in regards to legalization, but he is willing and able to enact conservative reforms first: build the wall, strengthen border apparatus, enact nationwide e-verify and make sure employers who are breaking immigration laws are prosecuted.
The other thing Rubio should avoid is attacking Senator Cruz. Cruz has come out swinging against Donald Trump. So Trump will no doubt be swinging back. The smartest thing for Rubio to do is to back up Cruz on Trump’s liberalism and contrast that with his own conservatism. He should certainly correct Senator Cruz if he makes inaccurate statements about his conservatism, but he shouldn’t try and paint Cruz as something he is not.
They should form an alliance of sorts. See who wins the most delegates leading up to say the middle of spring and should it look like Trump will rack up the most delegates should the three of them stay in the race, the one should get out and endorse the other.
Rubio and Cruz will have no better friends than each other, with Rubio being a surrogate who can bring some inspiration and positive affect to people who might not normally vote for a conservative like Cruz or Cruz giving Rubio some conservative street cred for conservatives who are suspicious he might be a RINO.
Rubio and Cruz will have no better friends than each other in the end.