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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Mitt Romney won’t get away with skipping Spring Training

It’s perhaps fitting that 2012 establishment Republican loser Mitt Romney is getting so much attention recently, because only in a unique nominating cycle like 2016 would something so far-fetched as resurrecting Mitt as a potential fill-in nominee even be possible.

At times in the 2016 race it’s looked like the establishment was getting used to the idea Trump could end up winning enough delegates to represent the party, but with Romney now taking center stage in the anti-Trump Mitt Romneymovement, it’s clear the establishment has decided it can’t and won’t deal with The Donald any longer.

There are signs Romney and the establishment are planning to steal the nomination too. S.A. Miller of the Washington Times reports, “Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, refused Sunday to rule out becoming the nominee again this year at a brokered convention, though he insisted he couldn’t imagine that happening.”

Mitt might have trouble getting a visual, but I can easily imagine it happening.

Consider this scenario: In July at the Republican National Convention, Trump falls short of the 1237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot. He cries foul. The elites go behind closed doors to discuss the alternatives. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney flies to Cleveland, the media greets him at the airport after “rumors” circulate that he’s in town to accept the nomination as the result of a brokered deal to appoint someone who can “win” in November.

Romney makes a speech where he hits Hillary Clinton and Obama hard while maintaining that Trump is unacceptable to the GOP because he’ll lose – and America can’t afford another four years of Democrat rule.

The convention goes insane with the media gleefully reporting on every new development, citing “unnamed inside sources” for their information. Fox News then conveys more “rumors” of a Romney-Rubio ticket at hand.

Can’t you just see it in your mind? To me it’s clear as day.

Miller further reports Romney said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, “I don’t think anyone in our party should say, ‘Oh no, even if the people of the party wanted me to be president, I would say no to it.’ No one is going to say that.”

Can he be serious? Romney again? He tried and failed in 2008 when many conservatives supported him as a potential more conservative alternative to John McCain. He won the nomination in 2012 when conservatives failed to consolidate behind Rick Santorum until it was too late.

In 2016 Romney time and again ruled out a comeback, only to have Trump do very well in the early states and now Mitt’s hinting at making a grand return.

I haven’t seen any polls on the matter, but I’m guessing not many would be wild about such an idea. For what it’s worth, fellow 2012 competitor Newt Gingrich said Romney’s already ruled himself out of the 2016 race by his nasty tone.

Kelly Cohen of the Washington Examiner reports Gingrich said Monday morning, “If Mitt had really wanted to maneuver for the nomination, he wouldn't have given the speech he gave…

“It may have been courageous on his part, it certainly [is] what I think he believes, but it was such a vitriolic and nasty speech that it guaranteed that the guy who currently has the most votes and the most momentum would never accept Romney as sort of the draft at the convention.”

Not that Trump would accept anyone as a nominee other than himself. The Donald’s many threats to run third-party indicate there’s little “flexibility” in his mind on this issue.

Who knows, maybe Gingrich secretly wants to be the “replacement” nominee himself. The establishment would probably be open to accepting him instead of Romney, but would Trump go along? Not likely, I say.

For his part, Romney claims he’s speaking out now because he’s concerned about the party and the country, not merely doing the establishment’s dirty laundry for them.

David McCabe of The Hill reports, “Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Sunday he didn’t offer his critique of Donald Trump as a tool of the Republican establishment.

“’Establishment suggests that there must be some 'Wizard of Oz' somewhere pulling the strings. That's not the way it works,’ he said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’

“’There are individuals like myself, I sat there and watched Donald Trump, and I said, 'Look, someone’s got to say something.’ I didn’t talk to anybody — say, 'I’m going to do a speech, you got some ideas?' This is something I did on my own because I care very deeply about the country.’”

Mitt is a good and decent man, but I doubt anyone believes him on this one. I liken Romney’s remaining on the sidelines now to a veteran player holding out for a salary increase before the baseball season.

Everyone knows the player’s going to take the money in the end…he’s just staying away to avoid the drudgery of spring training.

Romney clearly didn’t want to go through the exhausting and humiliating primary process again this year, but if he could run as the head of the party in the general election, he’d be willing to give it another shot. He’s been thoroughly vetted, faces a weak opponent in Hillary Clinton and would have the party establishment gratefully carrying his water.

Only one problem – the voters would NEVER accept it.

Too bad, Mitt.

Cruz Super PAC prepares barrage of ads to bring down Marco Rubio’s candidacy

During his “victory” speech last Tuesday night, Donald Trump said he’s ready to take on Marco Rubio in Florida and wasn’t bothered by the millions the senator’s establishment backers were planning to pour into the state to try and get Marco a win there.

Well, it turns out one of Ted Cruz’s Super PACs is preparing to help take Rubio down in Florida – not to help Trump, of course, but to aid in pushing Marco out of the race.

Shane Goldmacher of Politico reports, “[T]he super PAC has prepared an array of new attack ads hitting Rubio — on sugar subsidies, on his tax plan, on amnesty and on national defense — with plans to air them in the Sunshine State.

“’We had so much fun winning Sen. Cruz’s home state by 17 points, we thought why not repeat that in Sen. Rubio’s home state?’ said Kellyanne Conway, the Republican strategist who heads Keep the Promise I, which created the ads. The group is funded mostly by $11 million from hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, and had $2.75 million in the bank at the end of January.”

Super PACs cannot cooperate with campaigns regarding the content of ads, so the Ted Cruz people aren’t directly responsible for the strategy.

Cruz himself has said several times he intends to compete in Florida, so there are no signs he’s conceding the state to Rubio in order to deprive Trump of a potentially big delegate haul.

Cruz clearly sees that Rubio’s only chance to remain in the race is by winning Florida. Marco’s delusional view of his path forward always includes predictions of victory in his home state. If he doesn’t get it, the pressure will be enormous to get out and clear the path for Cruz to take on Trump one-on-one.

Trump also sees clearing the field as his best chance to get to 1237 delegates. If he loses in Florida and Ohio next Tuesday, his path becomes much more difficult with four candidates remaining in the race.

I’m guessing Cruz’s strategy will be successful and Rubio will lose in Florida. Trump will have a huge lead after next Tuesday but it’s possible the field will be down to two candidates. At that time, we’ll see whether The Donald is able to increase his share of the votes to take the remaining states.

My guess is he’ll lose of bunch of them. Time will tell.

Fellow senators to announce endorsements of Ted Cruz this week

One of Donald Trump’s favorite attack lines on Ted Cruz is “nobody likes him” and Ted doesn’t have a single endorsement from any of his colleagues in the Senate.

It looks like that’s about to change.

Elaina Plott of National Review writes, “With the prospect of Donald Trump’s nomination looming over the GOP, Cruz is set to unveil endorsements from at least four senators this week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

“Until now, Cruz had failed to earn the endorsement of even a single Senate colleague, a fact Trump and other presidential rivals have been quick to use against the Texas freshman. But as many senators see Marco Rubio’s prospects dimming, some are beginning to make peace with Cruz, convinced that he’s the only candidate who can stop Trump. If Rubio can’t clinch his home state of Florida on March 15, yet more may come forward to back the devil they know.”

I’ve long argued most endorsements don’t do much to help candidates and except for a few possible exceptions this year, they haven’t been relevant at all.

Marco Rubio obviously has tons of official backers, yet he’s anchored in third place and his only outright wins (in Minnesota and Puerto Rico) have come without any weighty politicians aiding in the effort.

Okay, establishment former Governor Tim Pawlenty did endorse Marco in Minnesota, but who cares?

I think the advocacy game is a little different for Ted Cruz, however. By being able to tout some endorsements, it takes away the “he can’t get anything done” argument from Trump. It also helps put to rest the stigma Cruz isn’t likable.

The love and affection of the conservative grassroots more than makes up for a lack of favor from his fellow senators, but having a few “friends” in your corner never hurts.

I’m sure Ted will gladly accept the endorsements…then we’ll have to see how Trump alters his favorite attack line against Cruz.

Ben Carson for Senate in Florida?

Finally today, throughout the 2016 campaign cycle I’ve argued Ben Carson is a high quality man who probably isn’t right for the presidency, but would certainly be valuable to the party and government in other capacities.

I mentioned Carson’s lack of political experience and dealing with the media as one of his biggest detractors.

Could Carson solve that problem by running for the Senate in Florida to replace Marco Rubio?

Mark Hensch of The Hill reports, “More than half of GOP Sunshine State Senate primary voters would back Ben Carson replacing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), according to a new poll.

“About 56 percent would vote for the unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate if he ran, according to a News 13/Bay News 9 survey released Monday.”

It makes a lot of sense to run for the Senate if Ben would consider it. He’s spoken often about wanting to help the country and he’d have a fairly sizable platform to continue his crusade against political correctness from the floor of the Senate.

I for one hope Carson runs in Florida. If for nothing else, he’d be a big improvement over the state’s current junior senator…

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