To Stop Trump, Rubio Asks Delegates for Support

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (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 “To Stop Trump, Rubio Asks Delegates for Support”

Rubio’s Weaknesses Now Impossible to Overlook

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

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 “Rubio’s Weaknesses Now Impossible to Overlook”

To Stop Trump, Rubio Needs to Fight on Two Fronts

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13 (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

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 “To Stop Trump, Rubio Needs to Fight on Two Fronts”

Rubio Is the Last Hurrah of Bush Republicanism

Marco Rubio
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida greets supporters in Columbus, Ohio, August 22, 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 “Rubio Is the Last Hurrah of Bush Republicanism”

South Carolina Reduces Republican Contest to Three

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 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 “South Carolina Reduces Republican Contest to Three”

Rubio on the Verge of Victory Once Again

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

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 on the Verge of Victory Once Again”

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 “Rubio Overrates His Foreign Policy Experience”

Republican Governors Team Up on Inexperienced Rubio

Chris Christie
Republican governor Chris Christie of New Jersey makes an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

The three Republican governors seeking their party’s presidential nomination each criticized Marco Rubio this weekend, saying the first-term senator from Florida is not ready to succeed Barack Obama next year. Read more “Republican Governors Team Up on Inexperienced Rubio”

The Entitlement of Marco Rubio’s Supporters

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida greets supporters in Columbus, Ohio, August 22, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida greets supporters in Columbus, Ohio, August 22, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Don’t Marco Rubio’s supporters think he can win on his own?

You would think from their calls on Jeb Bush, another Republican presidential candidate, to get out of the race before the first primary is even held in New Hampshire next week.

Bush and his campaign have divided their criticism between Rubio and Donald Trump. The latter seems to come from a genuine sense of alarm about the foulmouthed property tycoon’s rise in the polls. The former is strategic.

Bush and Rubio are vying for the same moderately conservative voters. Bush in particular needs a strong showing in New Hampshire to remain viable.

Rubio himself has largely ignored Trump, because the populist businessman’s voters are unlikely to switch to him. Instead, he has gone after fellow senator Ted Cruz, calculating that getting some of his Christian right supporters will ultimately put him over the top.

So there’s nothing new or unusual here. Yet some of Marco Rubio’s supporters are positively outraged that Bush should wonder if a first-term senator with exactly zero legislative accomplishments to his name is ready to become president. Read more “The Entitlement of Marco Rubio’s Supporters”

Rubio Seen Benefiting Most from Iowa Result

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Although he placed third in Iowa, Florida senator Marco Rubio may end up benefiting the most from the first presidential voting contest. The Republican was practically declared the winner by many news media and is now picking up more endorsements.

Rubio’s campaign successfully downplayed expectations before the caucuses with the candidate himself telling reporters that his fellow senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, was surely the frontrunner.

Cruz indeed won, but Rubio nearly bested property tycoon Donald Trump for second place, allowing him — and his many well-wishers in the press — to declare that he had “exceeded expectations” (the ones they themselves had set).

That, in turn, is giving Rubio “momentum” going into the next voting contest: New Hampshire.

It sounds a little silly, but such perceptions do matter. Read more “Rubio Seen Benefiting Most from Iowa Result”