Last fall when Ben Carson began winning some polls, Donald Trump pummeled him with questions of his sanity and his emotional stability. Carson’s numbers crashed and he hasn’t been a serious candidate since. When Ted Cruz took over the second spot, Trump pummeled him with “Liar, liar” charges. It hurt, but Cruz (as an anti-ethanol candidate, no less) went on to WIN Iowa.
So then Marco Rubio, like the bully’s little buddy in A Christmas Story, decided he needed to hit Cruz as well. Three weeks of these Trump/Rubio attacks along with careless campaign decisions which only reinforced the “nasty Cruz” meme has definitely hurt. With Cruz’s brand so heavily damaged, even if he only gets a narrow victory in Texas, it will be written as a loss. He may be lucky to win Oklahoma let alone a third state on March 1.
What Trump knows, and Marco doesn’t, is that Trump only needs about a third of Cruz voters to begin sailing to the nomination. The Fox News poll taken last week (before Bush left the race) shows that Rubio gets 23% of the vote if either Cruz or Trump were to get out of the campaign. If Trump happens to leave, Cruz leads Rubio by 32%-23%; but if Cruz leaves, Trump wins 40%-23%!
One of the appeals of Ted Cruz is that he stands up to Chuck Schumer and he also stands up to Mitch McConnell, who isn’t all that popular among Republican voters in case Rubio has forgotten. If a voter looks at “standing up to the Establishment” as a deciding factor, then why on earth would they go to Marco Rubio? Does he understand that gathering endorsements from Dean Heller and Dan Coates prove that he is decidedly NOT a Cruz-like candidate?
And speaking of endorsements, Conservative Review put together the scores of those who have endorsed Ted Cruz (83%) and those who have backed Marco Rubio (54%). It may be a toss-up as to whether President Trump would stand up an incompetent and unpopular Congress, but it’s almost a sure thing that President Rubio would be selectively accommodating to the pro-government Establishment.
Conventional MSM wisdom has Cruz leaving the race after a poor showing on March 1. I don’t necessarily buy that, but if it does then Marco Rubio is finished. Chris Christie went after the “Golden Boy” and the “Robo-Rubio” in New Hampshire and Rubio ended up in fifth behind Ted Cruz and behind Jeb Bush who also ran Rubio attack ads.
Bush and Christie were able to scratch the veneer off or Rubio, and we all see that Trump hasn’t even touched Rubio on his no-show work schedule or on his immigration stance. Rubio may think he can refute these charges with a rational argument like he tried in New Hampshire. Or maybe a rational argument like the one Ben Carson used when his emotional stability was attacked. Or maybe like the arguments Cruz has made against his “Liar, liar” charge. Rubio should know that Trump doesn’t respond to rational arguments, he just attacks, attacks, attacks! Trump plays by his own rules and there’s nothing to suggest that Rubio is up for the fight.
On the bright side, Donald Trump may chose not to attack Rubio and simply continue with his own campaign. The only unifying Rubio will do is to unify the emotion-filled Trump voter with the anti-establishment Cruz voter. Trump only attacks people who pose a serious threat, and Marco Rubio has certainly not proven that he’s worthy to enter the ring.