Tuesday, February 16, 2016


After his disastrous robot moment and disappointing finish in the New Hampshire primary, Marco Rubio seemed to be finished as a genuine presidential contender. But Rubio is tied with Ted Cruz for second place in South Carolina in the latest Public Policy Polling survey, well behind Donald Trump (Trump's at 35% and Rubio and Cruz are at 18%), but well ahead of John Kasich (10%) and the hapless Jeb Bush and Ben Carson (7%).

And Politico's Eli Stokols is back in love:
Rubio surges back to electrify South Carolina

After stumbling badly in New Hampshire, the Florida senator is dazzling crowds as ‘the comeback kid.’

Marco Rubio carried a message to South Carolina: He is “at peace” with his failure in New Hampshire....

When he finished, Rubio basked in thunderous applause from a 2,000-person, standing-room-only crowd, roughly 10 percent of the town's population.

... a confident debate performance Saturday night (a CBS poll showed 32 percent of respondents thought Rubio won the night) ... has enabled Rubio to move beyond the "Robot Rubio" narrative before it overtook his campaign....

After a few listless days on the trail in New Hampshire after the debate, Rubio has regained his energy, confidence — and sense of humor....

The spontaneous mix of laughter and thunderous cheers that erupted wasn’t that of an audience politely humoring a candidate -- it was the sound of a connection being sealed.
Be still, my fluttering heart!

Rubio, when things are working for him, has always been precisely the kind of candidate the mainstream press wants to love: new, young, male, a bro-ish dad, a guy who's serious enough to seem to have gravitas but who clearly radiates the sense that he'd rather talk football. Regrettably for the press, Rubio learns the material well enough to regurgitate it on the final but not well enough to actually understand it, so it's easy to trip him up (he's not going to BS his way out of a question he can't answer, like Donald Trump; he'll just recite talking points). But in South Carolina, apparently, he's doing well.

Or well enough to finish second. That will be good enough for the love affair to rekindle fully, as Stokols explains:
If Rubio simply finishes ahead of Jeb Bush, who is poling a distant fourth or fifth in some surveys, and emerges from this state, always critical to his chances, as the establishment’s comeback kid, it will be because of his campaign’s quick adjustment in the face of adversity -- and its unwavering faith in the candidate himself.
Yes, it's true: Trump can win twice Rubio's vote total, and Rubio can merely tie Cruz, and Rubio will still be declared the winner, because he exceeded expectations. It's not clear that he ever has to win a primary to be the press's favorite. He certainly doesn't have to win one anytime soon.

The subtext of this is the notion that Rubio can win at a brokered convention. As I noted last week, Rubio's campaign has been selling the notion that brokered convention is a possible Rubio path to victory:
... Marco Rubio suddenly faces a path to his party's presidential nomination that could require a brokered national convention.

That's according to Rubio's campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, who told The Associated Press that this week's disappointing performance in New Hampshire will extend the Republican nomination fight for another three months, if not longer....

"We very easily could be looking at May -- or the convention," Sullivan said aboard Rubio's charter jet from New Hampshire to South Carolina on Wednesday. "I would be surprised if it's not May or the convention."
Today's there's another article about the possibility of a brokered convention, this time from Politico's Ben Schreckinger. It's illustrated with a photo of Rubio.

Can Rubio really take the nomination at a brokered convention? Wouldn't it help for him to win a state or two?

It may not matter. The press wants to believe. If those PPP numbers are accurate, expect there to be a lot of smitten Rubio believers in the media after the polls close in South Carolina.


Charon04 said...

I think a brokered convention is unlikely, as it will come down to a 2-way race, Trump v. Cruz. I expect Trump to typically underperform the polling, Cruz to outperform based on campaign staff - Cruz has his PAC's doing stuff normally done only by campaigns.

So, most places, either Trump or Cruz gets most or perhaps all the elected delegates.

Sam Wang is predicting Trump takes all 50 of the South Carolina delegates. http://election.princeton.edu/

Unknown said...

Unless Trump wins an outright majority of delegates - which the RNC can make extremely difficult by changing the proportionality rules of the later contests - he has no way to prevent a brokered convention. At which, it would be anything goes.

The thinking being, since the presidency would be a write-off either with Trump on the ticket or running third-party, they might as well force him off in the hope of salvaging the down-ticket races.

Feud Turgidson said...

You do have to acknowledge a sort of 'B' Drudging admiration for Trump's timing: he 100% all over Marco the Humidor today, like a Paul Popeil marketing campaign: It drips, it schvitzes, it's like a frog or a lizard with all the skin moisture, You heard of the Deep End? That's the pool of sweat pooling at Marco's feet spoiling those hipster high heels the little shrimp wears, He's pretty much like what you'd expect from a Cuban-made humidifier: he self-moisturizes, One debate next to the guy you need a shower to get the Rubio off, That film of sweat can be an advantage: it means he can get thru a meet-and-greet line of a hundred people without ever actually making human contact, His plan to deal with Putin is to drown him, I hope they don't put me beside him in any more debates or I'll have to take some time off to go to Florida and borrow some fresh suits from Ben Carson, Ah Carson's really too small for my size Well it's almost spring so maybe all Rubio's sweating like a boar in heat will force me to buy a new wardrobe and that'll help the economy right?, It's like they made the Marccobot to be water-cooled but it's not working so great, How'd that guy even have kids?, I give the debate organizers credit: they don't require us to shake hands before a debate - otherwise I'd probably not be able to stop myself from going for the hand sanitizer, How'd you like this suit? I had it altered - added pockets to hold more handkerchiefs in case I run into Marco, They're all Trump-brand hankies very classy made in China of course Why can't we make handkershiefs in America? How did things get this bad?, I actually wanna thank Marco for going with those little booties because otherwise we'd all be on stage treading water, You gotta wonder what kind of underwear Marco has to wear He's really too young for Depends - on the other hand after he drops out I'd be happy to give him some free advice on how to set up his own line of masculine hygiene products, You know I can always tell which path Marco just took from off-stage to the debate podiums - it's those cute little size 6 bootprints, You know I almost got in trouble at home because after every debates Melania finds dark hairs on my suits and we finally figured out that's Marco shedding, Well thanks for comcing folks You've been a great great audience South Balmfolk And just make sure you vote for me Goo'nite!

Ten Bears said...

I don't know Feud but what you may well have too much time on your hands. Or you're a digitized ghost of Jack Kerouac.

When it comes to a brokered convention the Bush Family Crime Syndicate, the Carlyle Group, is the best positioned to secure the delegates left adrift were Trump either abandon the Retard Party for a third party run or implode so spectacularly as to actually - if possible - get dumped. C'mon folks, six months ago we were pretty much all traveling under the presumption it would be Jeb (...) v Jeb (...) in a Dress!... and the conventions are still six months away!

And let us not forget how the Cheney Administration became the Cheney Administration. Nixon's Chief of Staff. These fuckers are serious.

Lit3Bolt said...

There are not enough tire swings in the world...