Charles Gasparino appeared on Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.” Wednesday to discuss a major event in the Rubio campaign. Several big donors financing Rubio’s campaign allegedly told Gasparino that barring better internal polls over the next few days, Rubio will drop out of the race prior to the winner-take-all Florida primary.
“The feeling is despair…We talk about paths to victory. This is what his guys are saying: They don’t see a path to victory and they think it’s better to get out sooner rather than later…things might change…
They [donors] look at him and say, ‘Okay, Marco, what type of damage are you going to do to the party now if you literally just hand this to Donald by taking votes away from Cruz?’…and I want to make real clear, this is not coming from the campaign…this is coming from the guys that give the campaign its lifeblood.”
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) March 9, 2016
[score]Marco Rubio[/score] has performed abysmally in the last few primaries outside of Puerto Rico. He came in fourth in Michigan with just 9.3 percent, fourth in Mississippi with 5.1 percent, and third in Hawaii and Idaho, gaining not a single delegate. These numbers aren’t outliers. Rubio has only won two contests out of twenty-four.
His home state of Florida looks to be a bloodbath, where the RealClearPolitics polling average has him trailing Donald Trump by 17 percent.
In short, the Rubio campaign is hemorrhaging. The question is, with his donors allegedly applying pressure to the campaign, his rock-bottom poll numbers, and seemingly no other path to the nomination aside from a brokered convention (and even that’s a long shot), what will Marco do?
If Rubio truly believes Trump must be stopped, he will do the right thing, and kamikaze at tonight’s Republican debate. What do I mean by that? Rubio will do what he did at the last debate, shivving Trump over and over again at his own expense, allowing [score]Ted Cruz[/score] to take the more substantive lines of attack.
With his endorsements from Carly Fiorina and conservative demi-god Mark Levin, as well as his rumored senatorial endorsements to be announced this week, Cruz is gathering momentum. He’s nipping at Trump’s heels in the primaries and delegate counts. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver tweeted that while early votes in Louisiana went to Trump by a shocking 23.8 percent margin, election day votes went to Cruz by 0.4 percent. That’s a massive swing, and indicative of what’s to come in later primaries if Cruz is allowed to go mano a mano with Trump.
Moreover, the latest ABC News/Washington Post survey shows Cruz beating Trump head-to-head 54 percent to 41 percent. With Rubio (and Kasich–please, God) out of the way, Cruz would crush Trump.
After Rubio kamikazes, taking Trump down with him, he can announce Friday or Saturday that he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Cruz. This would be a monumental sacrifice for Rubio to make, but it would benefit the party and its only viable anti-Trump candidate, [score]Ted Cruz[/score].
It seemed like Cruz and Rubio had a silent pact at the last debate to target only Trump, and I expect tonight will be no different. The only thing that I believe will change is the intensity with which Rubio will attack Trump. Following that, I expect a suspension of the campaign before the March 15 Florida primary, and I hope, a fervent endorsement of [score]Ted Cruz[/score].
A strong endorsement would hopefully bring Rubio voters into the Cruz fold, further coalescing the anti-Trump conservative base.
Unless this happens, polling indicates Rubio will lose Florida, Trump will gain 99 more delegates, and the contest will move that much closer to a Trump nomination, or a brokered convention.
[score]Marco Rubio[/score], please do the right thing.