So as Rubio takes 2nd place in New Hampshire and is gaining everywhere else…his detractors from the left and populists (who certainly aren’t on the right) keep saying that he can’t win.
Like most things that come from progressives and populists, it’s just a little daft.
But let’s go over the actual path that Rubio will take to win not only the nomination but White House.
So let’s first deal with the two people who still lead the national polls: Trump and Carson. Let’s be honest here about three weeks before the Iowa Caucus we will see a string of ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida that will accurately portray as a nationalist who is out to destroy our international trade deal and send us into a Great Depression, a socialist who praises high taxes for the rich and Canadian style single payer healthcare, and a racist. It won’t be hard to portray this racist national socialist as Hitler Jr., primarily because, well, with his plans to have the government open everyone’s mail and round up people into concentration camps using The Gestapo Deportation Squads, he is. And the more Carson speaks about why people are gay, who built the pyramids, or his ideas that 9/11 should have been handled by hugging it out and singing Kumbaya, no sane person is seriously going to back this man by January. Trump will probably lash out with attack ads, but they will be so far fetched and tactless that if anything they will help the people they’re intended to attack.* (If I am wrong about this then there is not hope for America and by extension the world).
So that leaves Rubio, Cruz, and Bush. JEB is there not because his utter incompetence and desperation will attract voters but because his money is going to last for a while (and he will likely not have a truly epic meltdown, the kind of meltdown I expect Trump to the first time he loses). So JEB will limp along, but will never actually win anything, and with any luck that will be the last we hear from that family.
So it really comes down to Rubio v. Cruz. Now I could talk about the strength of Rubio’s campaign, but that’s a given. It will continue to be a series of rational, intelligent, principled based stands. The real reason though Cruz is going to lose is because Cruz’s strategy was clearly invented by someone who listens to pundits more than reality.
Cruz has three basic principles of his campaign. (1) That every Republican election comes down to a choice between a REAL conservative (Teddy’s definition of conservative has nothing to do with conservatism not withstanding) and a “moderate” (2) That evangelical Christians make up a huge portion of the GOP base and (3) That his policies, especially on immigration are right in line with the American public.
So let’s go over this genius battle plan.
That every primary comes down to the conservative and the moderate.
2012: Mitt “actual conservative in every area” Romney vs. Rick “big government” Santorum. In Cruz’s world Santorum was the conservative here.
2008: McCain vs. Huckabee. Huckabee here is the conservative in Cruz’s mind. I’m not particularly sure that applies to either of them.
2000: Bush vs McCain. Who is the conservative?
1996: Dole vs Buchanan. If you want to portray this as moderate vs. racist lunatic…okay, I could believe that description.
1988: Bush vs Dole. Umm….
Here are the actual conservatives 1988: Kemp, 1996 and 2000 Forbes, 2008 Romney and Giuliani, 2012 Romney…except for Romney in 2012 they all dropped out early on. Republicans have some great legislators…we don’t come up with a lot of good executive choices. But history aside, his entire premise has ABSOLUTELY NO BASIS IN REALITY. In fact history suggests that someone as abrasive as Teddy is going to go down quickly, but we’ll get to that in point 3.
(2) Cruz keeps repeating the lie that Obama won in 2012 because “REAL conservatives” stayed home and didn’t vote because they hated a moderate like Romney. This is based on the fact that on election night the number of votes for Romney was significantly less than the number of votes McCain had 4 years before…of course over the next two weeks as all the absentee ballots and lagging precincts turned in those last minute totals it turned out that in the final count Romney got a million more votes than McCain…in an election where 3 million fewer people voted—in fact Romney got a larger share of the population that any non-incumbent president in recent history. But don’t let facts stop you there, Teddy. You have a talking point that Romney alienated Evangelical Christians, and you’re working to get them to finally come out and vote for a real conservative. Another fact that is mildly relevant is that Evangelical Christians are a group pretty much divided down the middle on politics, almost half voting Democrat…but again why should facts get in Ted’s way.
Really when you think about it Ted’s pitch is “I think you should vote for me because you’re so stupid you couldn’t tell the difference between Romney and Obama” and that would be pretty stupid if such voters existed, but, as we pointed out, they don’t. They’re a myth created by pundits with more microphones than brain cells.
Quite frankly Ted’s campaign strategy has to be the dumbest political move since Brutus and Cassius thought they wouldn’t need a plan for right after because the people would just rise up in joy that the dictator they loved had just been taken out.
Of course there is that one other tiny problem for Teddy. Evangelicals like Marco .
Also implicit in this plan to the good salt of the Earth people is that he likes to talk about he is one of them and not one of the Washington elite. That’s right a man born to the owners of an oil drilling resources company, he went to private school for most of his K-12 education, Princeton, the Harvard Law…from there he spent most of his life in government employment (no really, Obama has more private sector experience). And lest you think he has given up that silver spoon through low paying public service, please remember he is worth millions thanks to his wife’s job in management at Goldman Sachs. Truly a man of the people…it should play well in the heartland. (Not that there is anything wrong with his biography. Many great leaders have similar backgrounds…it’s that Cruz tries to portray himself as somehow being from the middle class is what is so distasteful and indicative of a common demagogue.)
(3) But Cruz’s biggest problems aren’t that he lives in a political Bizzaro world where nothing operates the way things do here on Earth.
No Ted has bigger problems, than his strategy. His positions are a disaster.
He is supporting a Value Added Tax in his tax plan which is about socialists and pro-big government as it’s going to get. When the depth of how massive a big government increase this is, those primary voting Republicans are going to drop him like a rock.
Last we heard he was against Free Trade…but as he was for it back in January who knows if he’ll actually be for or against it when it comes up to vote in the Senate.
And then of course there is immigration. Cruz has taken to the all too familiar lie that Rubio was for amnesty (referring of course to S.744 which required that if illegals want to stay they need to pay fines, fees, taxes wait at the back of the line. Amnesty is freedom from punishment, ergo S.744 is not amnesty). He is also parroting the Trump lines about immigration hoping to pick them up once Trump drops out (ignoring that most of Trump’s supporters are not regular Republican voters and when Donald drops out the little racists will not consider voting for Sen. Rafael “Ted” Cruz for a second but rather just slink back to their little Neo-Nazi caves). He has even taken to saying we need to pass laws against birthright citizenship and don’t need to worry about overturning the 14th Amendment to do that—something 2011 Ted Cruz was quite clear was stupid.
But his immigration stance has two other problems. One, while saying he’s the only one who is against amnesty, his immigration plan literally has no plans whatsoever on what we’re going to do about the illegals already here; thus his plan continues the de facto amnesty we currently have (and as far as I can tell of the candidates who have given details on an immigration plan he’s the only one who does punish or remove those illegals…so he’s the only for amnesty). The second problem is that while he’s clearly a hypocrite in the difference between his anti-amnesty rhetoric and his pro-amnesty written plan, most people are only going to hear his rhetoric. Now if you’re Trump or Cruz you’ll think this will win you votes. The problem is that 68% of Republicans want to give illegals legal status or even a path to citizenship.
The second anyone scratches the surface of this demagogue, they’re going to find a life long elitist out for power who changes his positions with the turn of the tides. Top it off with they slimy used-car-salesman grin and demeanor of a snake-oil peddler…and Cruz really isn’t going to be much of a challenge to Rubio.
Once Rubio has the nomination we have to admit one very simple thing…Clinton will not be able to rally the troops like Obama did. She is not charismatic and her base is going to desert her.
Which means that Rubio right off gets all the states Romney won.
And since Rubio will likely pick up Florida without any problems, we can assume that before looking at Rubio starting with 235 electoral votes locked up. And unlike Cruz, Carson, or Trump (or quite frankly any of the other GOP candidates) he won’t drive away moderates.
Rubio is also ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire, Colorado, and Minnesota by generous margins. So that’s another 23 votes or 258 total. And he’s already ahead in Pennsylvania, which would put him well over the needed 270. And that’s before you even consider that Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia could also be up for grabs. With Rubio as the nominee there is virtually no chance of the general election even being much of a contest.
So next time you see someone try to talk about electability as being a problem for Rubio, just remember that it’s not.
*With any luck Trump will use up all his money go bankrupt and die penniless in a gutter after spending his last pathetic years on Earth begging for loose change (hey I can dream Karma will come in sooner rather than later).