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Presidential Horse Race 2016: If Marco Rubio is so electable, why can’t he win something?

It’s only been a few days since the South Carolina Republican primary and already many voices in the media are talking as though Donald Trump is unstoppable in his quest for the party nomination.

By my count he’s got two wins and a second place in three states that aren’t going to figure prominently in the general election. Looking at the numbers, Trump’s got 67 delegates thus far to Ted Cruz’s 11 and Marco Rubio’s 10. Heck, even John Kasich has five and Ben Carson three. In other words, Trump only has a 64 delegate lead on the guy who’s in last place among the candidates still in the race.

Marco RubioRealistically speaking, The Donald does continue to enjoy a big lead in most national polls, with a 14 point margin in the Real Clear Politics average.

And he’ll most likely win today in the Nevada caucuses, if the polls are any predictor.

But all of this still doesn’t mean he’s inevitable.

John Fund of National Review presents a very compelling case for not handing over the podium to Trump yet. “Trump is the front-runner, but he has to find a way to win a majority of the delegates, and the kind of campaign he’s running is making it harder for him to crack a ceiling of about a third of the vote.

“In the run-up to South Carolina, Trump came out in favor of the health-care mandate, defended Planned Parenthood, accused George W. Bush of lying about the Iraq War, and stood by his call to impeach Bush. (He later retreated on the mandate and on Bush’s supposedly lying.) His consistent inconsistency helps explain why only four in ten GOP voters in a new Associated Press poll view Trump in a positive light. He will have trouble growing his coalition to win a majority of delegates, even as more candidates drop out.”

To Fund’s list of Trumpian inconsistencies, I would add he was for the Iraq War before he was against it and admits he doesn’t know what was in his mind at the time.

He’ll have trouble indeed in gaining more support, which is amply demonstrated by his own behavior. For example, Trump’s “victory” speeches thus far have all followed a similar pattern. He talks about how great he is, reaffirms all the boasting about what he’d do in office (sometimes known as promises) and then extends an olive branch to his opponents, telling them they all did a “great job” and is looking forward to moving on to the next states to compete.

In doing so, it’s kind of like talking trash on the football field, punching your opponents in the groin on the bottom of the pile where the referee can’t see it and then saying “good job” while shaking their hands and smiling at the end of the game.

That’s basically Trump’s plan for building his coalition. He’ll do whatever it takes to “win” while the game is on and then he’ll try and make friends later.

The only problem is people don’t care much for the gesture when they know they’re about to get kicked below the waist again in a few days.

It’s not a very sound strategy when you’re calling people like Ben Carson a child molester and Ted Cruz a “nasty person” who “lies” every other sentence – and then expecting all to be forgiven when you end up taking first place.

Much has been written about the intractability of Trump’s coalition. We know by now the people who support Trump are solid in his camp – so they are not going to be swayed by most forms of traditional negative persuasion. Their minds are made up. His opponents should figure Trump will get at least a quarter of the vote from here on out.

Therefore, they need to work on the roughly 70-75% of the voters who don’t like Trump and are up for grabs. I would argue these people are not going to be won over by a lot of negative pounding on The Donald. They already know Trump’s a recent – at best – convert to the conservative cause.

The not-Trump voters don’t need to be given additional reasons not to like Trump. Instead, they need to be reassured that their concerns are being addressed with a strong anti-Washington message and demonstrations of proven leadership.

In other words, they need a Trump-like message without resorting to his negative brow-beating style.

Ted Cruz is the best candidate to advance the cause. If he can continue to highlight the many weaknesses in Marco Rubio’s candidacy, he’ll become the leading “not-Trump” alternative in voters’ minds.

That’s by far the best way to show Trump isn’t inevitable.

It’s time for Cruz to emphasize his own electability vis-à-vis Hillary Clinton

Speaking of message, it’s probably time for the Cruz campaign to make some tactical shifts. After the Texas senator’s first-rate ground game helped deliver a win in Iowa, he’s stalled a bit in New Hampshire and South Carolina, due mostly to being bogged down by the two-pronged “liar” assault from Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.

The Cruz campaign has all the technical ground game and fundraising capabilities of going far in the race…now it just needs some communications fine-tuning.

Eric Erickson of The Resurgent writes, “Cruz’s messaging is a muddled mess. Rick Tyler has had several awkward television appearances. The campaign, which has a general election strategy, has sold few people on Cruz’s electability. He has turned off a lot of voters with his evangelical pitch that came across as over the top...

“Team Cruz has the fundamentals the other campaigns wished they had. But when the candidate and his campaign are being labeled as dishonest liars, they’ve got to turn that around. His campaign message of ‘Trust Ted’ left him exposed to that attack and his campaign has done little to combat it. Going forward that must change.”

I’m not quite sure how Erickson would recommend that Ted change his message, but I think it has something to do with finding a way to resist the “liar” accusations without coming across as too reactionary or, for lack of a better word, “nasty.”

Rubio’s now basing his entire campaign on the electability factor. He knows he can’t compete in any other category, so he’s hard-selling the fact he’s a stark contrast to Hillary Clinton based on aesthetics and style.

Exit polls in South Carolina showed a heavy advantage for Rubio when voters’ first concern was electability, so the establishment advances the argument that Rubio represents the future while Clinton is the tired (and old) past. But can’t Cruz make the same claim?

Cruz is the same age as Rubio, same ethnic heritage, similar rags-to-success family story and heralds from a large and important Republican state.

Plus, he has vastly superior qualifications and the unconditional love of a big segment of the grassroots. Most Trump supporters I’ve talked with like him as well, but can’t stand Rubio.

So in terms of “message,” Cruz needs to highlight his own electability. There’s much to tell, with many weapons in reserve. He needs to think about using them -- now. This Thursday’s debate will be the perfect time to start, right in front of an increasingly tuned-in national audience.

Super Tuesday will leave Marco Rubio hanging on by a thread

I find it curious that the Rubio team is focusing so hard on the electability narrative when the Florida senator hasn’t come close to winning a state yet – and realistically won’t even compete for a victory for another three weeks until Florida votes.

What little momentum he claims to have will be long gone by then. How enthused are people going to be for turning out to support a guy for third-place in what is effectively a three-man race? Will voters buy-in to the already disproven Rudy Giuliani strategy from 2008 that a “win” in Florida will essentially reorder the campaign?

In another interesting twist, Ohio also votes on March 15. There’s no way Rubio could win there with John Kasich still in the race. Even if Kasich doesn’t win in his own home state, he’ll take enough establishment votes away from Rubio to prevent him from doing so.

Logically speaking, Trump and Cruz carry all the advantages into next week’s Super Tuesday primaries, where twelve states are set to vote. Trump leads in most of them, with Cruz figuring to do well in his home state of Texas and several other southern states.

Rubio can’t count a single state that’s likely to make him a winner on that day.

Rubio’s oh-for-three is one thing. Oh-for-sixteen is quite another.

Mike Flynn of Breitbart reports, “[T]he Super Tuesday contests do present something of a problem for Rubio. It is hard to imagine him winning any of the states on March 1st. To date, Rubio has come in 3rd, 5th, and 2nd/3rd. No candidate, since Bill Clinton, has become a party’s nominee without winning one of the early contests. Clinton, however, was able to secure the nomination as a result of strong wins in Super Tuesday contests. That path is not open to Rubio.

“Appearing Sunday on ABC’s This Week, Rubio said his campaign was looking to the contests beginning March 15th, when delegates are awarded on a winner-take-all basis.”

Assuming Rubio doesn’t win until March 15 (and I’m not saying he’ll win then by any means either -- he’s way behind Trump in his home state), he’ll have gone a month and a half without being able to hang his hat on a victory.

At that point he’s barely still in contention and seriously behind in the delegate count. Reality and common sense say something dramatic has to happen in his favor before Florida or Rubio’s history.

I don’t see it happening. And I don’t see him getting a new campaign “birth” in his home state either. When he finishes second or third there, will it be enough for him to get out and clear the path for Cruz to take on Trump one-on-one?

Time will tell. But the next time someone talks about Rubio holding such a strong position in the race, you better remind them that the numbers are seriously stacked against him and the establishment.

Like his campaign, Ted Cruz’s commercials stand out for creativity and substance

Finally today, one of the more entertaining aspects of this year’s campaign has been Ted Cruz’s campaign commercials. Not only have they made a point, they’re funny and creative as well.

Brendan Bordelon of National Review reports, “In close collaboration with a more traditional ad campaign, the unconventional commercials have driven tremendous media buzz and helped the campaign reach GOP voters more effectively than its rivals.

“In a campaign cycle dominated by Donald Trump’s unending provocations, their ability to arouse the general public’s interest is impressive. Their effectiveness is driven, in no small part, by Cruz’s unusual willingness to play along with his Hollywood handlers.”

It should be noted only some of Ted’s ads have been created by Hollywood talent. Others have been generated by firms in Texas and Virginia. It’s a well-rounded operation that produces both traditional campaign promotions as well as the entertaining ones.

There are far too many great ads to discuss individually here. Even if you’re not a Cruz supporter, you’ll find some of them very worthwhile to watch. Bordelon’s article contains a number of them. Click on the link and get ready to chuckle.

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Republicans failure to stand against Obama

Americans understood it would take more than a Republican Congress to stop Obama and Democrats. It would mean replacing Democrats with Republicans in the Senate too.We did that, then Republicans voted with the Democrats and Obama.Now Americans are fed up and afraid to vote in a politition as President. This Trump craze is the fault of Republican politicians that did NOT stand with the people. All his supporters hear is "WALL" They do not hear how he plans to still allow in those he says will be removed. They forget the other issues. They forget Trump is exactly like Hillary or even care he has a sexual assault law suit against him. He doesn't lie or flip flop. He changes his mind. Only Cruz lies. He is a Trojan horse. Cruz is for the people and has no Federal lawsuits against him as Trump has. Cruz has refused to stand with parties on both sides when it is what the people want. Rubio is establishment, not Cruz. if Cruz does not become our next President, the establishment is to blame.

Cruz' style, vision, and creative ads - time to show the vision!

As you point out, Cruz' ads are a cut above the ordinary.
Clearly he is putting his money where it matters - ground game and advertising.
I agree with the author that Rick Tyler has been somewhat of a liability, with the big red flag being his statement on Sarah Palin's endorsement of Trump. At first, I thought he and Cruz were playing good cop/bad cop. As time wore on, Tyler elicted more cringes, and it was definitely time for him to go.

Now it is time to focus on that positive vision, drawn in bold colors, and draw voters toward the sunlight.
The other area where the campaign needs to show (just a little) more class is in the way they treat helpers and event attendees - going too far down market and providing no food or drink stops looking frugal, and begins to seem mean.

Meanwhile, Rubio's liberal projection of his own character flaws onto others is beginning to look as transparent as the emperor's new clothes - it will turn off voters. Oh, and the recycled Dole endorsement, that even Romney didn't want, until he took it, can we hope "kiss of death"?


It is unbeleiveable that people believe that cruz and Rubio are the ones to
put into the Presidents Oval Office when they are so skidish! They cannot do
or say what they intend to do and no fight in them! The Arkansas Governor had the audasity to get on the News and announce that he and Arkansas Citizens are going to back Rubio....what and who does he think he is....he did not have the Citizens permission to include everyone.....everyone has to
mean those who are going to do and use Rubio to get what they want out of Rubio..kiss...kissy! Governor get that grown drunk son straight before you
turn your back on your Residents of Arkansas and a Fighter For Freedom like
Mr. Trump! Guess Arkansas We the People found out where We the People stand with Hutchinson and next election We should ask someone like Tom Cotton or
Dr. Boozman to replace him????

Presidential race Trump vs. Cruz vs. Rubio

The establishment republicans are more afraid of Trump and Cruz so they are moving to support rubio. Heck even Fox News is now in the bag for rubio.

In reality the aristocratic elite republican establishment is more concerned with their re-elections and maintaining power and are willing to sell our American citizenship to illegal alien invaders rather than fighting against our country being taken over and turned into a third world nation.

What the AMERICAN CITIZENS must understand is that a vote for rubio is a vote for legalization and citizenship for the 11+ million illegal alien invaders giving more votes to the democrats. This will begin the invasion all over again.

Once legalization is in place the so called immigration rights groups like la raza will be on the streets demanding the human rights for the newly legalized immigrants who deserve citizenship. Of course it will not happen overnight but it will happen and it will not take as long to make them citizens as it was to legalize them once the American citizens get tired of the issue.

I for one support Senator Cruz the only candidate who has stood tall and fought against the aristocratic elite politicians on both sides of the isle.

I would vote for Trump if he is successful but I would have to hold my nose quite tightly.