Now is the time in the Republican primary race that everybody needs to deal in frank talk. With only four candidates left in the race, it’s clear that the field is narrowing considerably and out of the four, only two candidates have a chance at the nomination.
John Kasich should have went for the exit long ago, but still holds on. Florida Senator Marco Rubio mounted an impressive bid but, ultimately, the anti-establishment sentiment throughout this race has been too much for him to overcome. What is left is Donald Trump, a Washington outsider, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz , a principled constitutional conservative who has long irked establishment politicians and rejected the power held by what he calls the “Washington Cartel.”
Reports have emerged that though he is far behind in the race, Rubio is counting on siphoning enough delegates to keep any one candidate from a majority at the Republican convention. With no majority, delegates are released from responsibility and can vote however they wish.
If Rubio can stay in the race, he may be able to politic his way to the nomination. The move, however, is dirty and obtaining the nomination this way may rob him of a mandate from Republicans.
According to a CNN report, advisers in the Rubio camp are at-odds with each other as some are vehement in their assertion that Rubio should bow-out before the Florida primary on March 15th.
Publicly, the campaign is maintaining they are still a contender in this race, touting a Sunday win in Puerto Rico’s primary that delivered Rubio 23 delegates. But privately, the campaign is having a debate about whether or not he should remain in the mix — even for his home state of Florida’s primary.
“He doesn’t want to get killed in his home state,” one source familiar with the discussions said, noting “a poor showing would be a risk and hurt his political future.”
Polls show Rubio trailing GOP front-runner Donald Trump in Florida. A Monmouth pollreleased Monday shows Rubio behind Trump, 38% to 30%. A Quinnipiac poll released two weeks ago put Rubio behind Trump by a wider margin: 44% to 28%.
Most of his advisers agree he does not have a path to the nomination and some are advising him to get out ahead of the March 15 primary…
Sources within the campaign also say the pressure will only continue to mount following an expected disappointing showing Tuesday, when voters in Michigan, Mississippi, Hawaii and Idaho make their picks in the GOP primary.
“Not going to have a great day is an understatement,” one campaign source said.
Of course, though CNN claimed that the information comes from several inside sources, the official word from the campaign is that such speculation is 100% false.
Aside from saving his own reputation, Rubio also has an opportunity to do a solid for conservatives and the establishment- both of whom reject Trump’s brand of brash populism that is neither conservative nor moderate.
If he bows-out of the race and endorses Cruz, the Florida win would boost Cruz to the lead at a time when the Trump Campaign is beginning to show signs of plateauing and as the Cruz Campaign is picking-up some serious steam and even earning some major endorsements.
Throwing support behind Cruz will please conservatives who are still wary of Rubio’s support for amnesty for illegal immigrants and will likely also please establishment elements of the GOP who have long contended that Trump poses a serious risk to the political viability of the GOP.
Rubio does not have a legitimate shot at the nomination; what’s left now is whether he wants to go down with the ship and damage his longterm political goals or instead make allies.