To Stop Trump, Rubio Asks Delegates for Support

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida greets supporters in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 23
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida greets supporters in Las Vegas, Nevada, February 23 (Gage Skidmore)

Marco Rubio is appealing to the delegates who were pledged to support him before he suspended his presidential campaign earlier this month as part of an effort to deny Donald Trump the Republican nomination.

NBC News reports that Rubio has asked party leaders in 21 American states and territories not to release their 172 delegates who were due to support him at the nominating convention in Ohio this summer.

“It is my desire at this time that the delegates allocated to me by your rules remain bound to vote for me on at least the first nominating ballot at the national convention,” Rubio wrote.

With Trump expected to fall just short of the 1,237-delegate majority needed to win the nomination outright, Rubio’s 172 could be decisive in blocking the property tycoon who many in the party fear would lead them to a crushing defeat in November.

But Rubio may not persuade all of them. Read more

Rubio’s Weaknesses Now Impossible to Overlook

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida appears at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, March 5
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida appears at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, March 5 (Gage Skidmore)

It only took 22 defeats, but the commentariat is finally willing to concede that Marco Rubio has failed as a presidential candidate.

Readers of the Atlantic Sentinel will not be surprised. When Rubio announced his candidacy in April of last year, we pointed out that he had no natural constituency in his party. FiveThirtyEight now argues much the same. Read more

To Stop Trump, Rubio Needs to Fight on Two Fronts

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida makes a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, October 31, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida makes a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, October 31, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Whatever the outcome in Nevada on Tuesday, Republican candidate Marco Rubio will need to triangulate in time for the various voting contests on “Super Tuesday” next week if he is to block Donald Trump’s path to the nomination.

About half the delegates needed to win the presidential contest are at stake on March 1. Most will be awarded more-or-less proportionally.

David Wasserman writes at The Cook Political Report that the twelve states voting that day will test Rubio’s ability to take the nominating fight to the New York property tycoon one-on-one.

The Florida senator, he points out, will need to show strength in both deep-red Southern states like Georgia and Texas — where a candidate needs at least 20 percent support to qualify for delegates — and more moderate places like Massachusetts, Minnesota and Vermont to prove that he really is the last man standing against Trump.

To that end, he must fight on two fronts. Read more

Rubio Is the Last Hurrah of Bush Republicanism

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida is interviewed at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida is interviewed at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Marco Rubio’s chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination have undoubtedly increased this weekend. But he still looks like a weak candidate.

With Jeb Bush out of the race and every serious Republican in the country determined to stop Donald Trump — and Ted Cruz, if they can help it — Rubio is the obvious consensus candidate. He got almost a quarter of the votes in Iowa and South Carolina. He has both establishment and Tea Party appeal. Rubio may not be many Republicans’ first choice; almost everybody can live with him.

The argument for Rubio is that, of the remaining candidates, only he can unify the party after what is now almost certain to be a long and contentious three-way nominating contest and only he can defeat Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in the fall.

That first claim may be right. The second is probably wrong. Read more

South Carolina Reduces Republican Contest to Three

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida answers questions from supporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, November 21, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida answers questions from supporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, November 21, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

For Republicans, South Carolina only partially lived up to its reputation on Saturday.

Party elites were counting on the first Southern state in the presidential primaries to act as a “firewall” against insurgent candidates like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

The New York businessman, who many in the party see as wholly unelectable, still won with nearly a third of the votes.

But Marco Rubio, a first-term senator, split second place with Cruz at 22 percent support.

Jeb Bush, the other establishment favorite, dropped out of the nominating contest after getting only 8 percent support. Read more

Rubio on the Verge of Victory Once Again

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida gives a speech in Columbus, Ohio, August 22, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida gives a speech in Columbus, Ohio, August 22, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

After placing a disappointing fifth in the New Hampshire primary earlier this month, Marco Rubio is once again being played up in the press as the presidential candidate most likely to do well in South Carolina on Saturday.

We’ll believe it when we see it.

After Rubio came in third in Iowa’s caucuses, which kicked off the presidential nominating contest at this the start of this month, we agreed that he was now better positioned to claim to be the consensus candidate who could defeat both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the two frontrunners.

But then came an awful debate performance in which a cornered Rubio repeated verbatim the same “memorized 25-second speech,” as one of his opponents put it, four times.

It wasn’t just a bad moment. It made Rubio seem like a political dilettante and that led Republicans to revisit the doubts they had about him in the first place. Read more

Rubio Overrates His Foreign Policy Experience

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida listens to a question from a voter in Nashua, New Hampshire, January 23, 2016
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida listens to a question from a voter in Nashua, New Hampshire, January 23, 2016 (Michael Vadon)

Criticized by his more senior rivals for lacking experience, Marco Rubio argued on Thursday that he alone has the “foreign policy experience” to qualify for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

“The fact of the matter is Jeb has no foreign policy experience,” the Florida senator said about his state’s former governor. “He has no foreign policy experience and was governor a long time ago.”

The world has changed a lot in the last ten years. Foreign policy has changed a lot in the last five years. No one on that stage has more experience or has shown better judgment or has shown a better understanding of national security threats than I have.

As a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio is not totally inexperienced when it comes to foreign policy.

But that’s not the type of experience his critics were talking about. Read more