Sunday, March 01, 2015


These CPAC straw polls should be taken with a big grain of salt, I suppose -- the Paul crowd always sends in a lot of kids to stuff the ballot box, so they're not a very accurate reflection of Republican thinking -- but for one supposed A-lister, the results are part of a pattern most political observers aren't acknowledging:
Rand Paul won a high-profile straw poll for a third straight year Saturday....

The Kentucky senator carried 25.7% in the Conservative Political Action Conference poll, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker finished second with 21.4%....

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, finished third with 11.5%, followed closely by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 11.4%.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush ... finished fifth at 8.3%.

Other potential presidential candidates -- including Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and Rick Perry — had less than 4% in the straw poll.
(Emphasis added.)

It's widely acknowledged that Chris Christie is struggling, and that Rick Perry faces an uphill battle if he wants to be taken seriously this year. But it seems to me that most political pros still regard Rubio as a major candidate.


I looked at the Real Clear Politics rundown of national Republican polls -- Rubio has been in single digits in every poll released in the last year. Yes, it's a big field, but there have been at least three candidates in double digits in every one of those polls. Rubio hasn't been one of them.

Why would Rubio eventually do better in the polls? If Republican voters want a tanned Floridian who's said moderate-sounding things about immigration, they can vote for Jeb Bush, who's scarfing up all the Establishment money Rubio would like to get his hands on. If Republican voters want an under-50 fresh face, they can vote for Scott Walker, Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, all of whom, unlike Rubio, have passionate followings. And if Republican voters want a Hispanic candidate ... well, I can't imagine any Republican voters who actually want a Hispanic candidate, but if they do, they've got Cruz.

Rubio could be running for the VP slot, although I don't think that's primarily what he has in mind. But if Jeb wins the nomination, the Constitution says he and Jeb Marco can't be on the same ticket, because they're both from the same state.* And it's quite possible that whichever white guy does get the nomination will pick a female running mate, the better to attack Hillary. And even if VP is Rubio's plan, why bother running for president? You don't have to do that to be a running mate -- in fact, the last Republican to put a rival candidate on the ticket was Ronald Reagan in 1980.

So, Marco, don't bother -- you're toast. Or if you want to stay in the race, do or say something extreme, scurrilous, and reckless. GOP voters really like that.

*Two commenters dinged me on this, so I'll correct it: Constitutionally, you're allowed to have a ticket with two candidates from the same state -- you just have to forgo all the electoral votes from that state. Florida, of course, has 29 electoral votes -- more than 10% of the total you need to win. Why would a party concede that many electoral votes in advance?

Oh, and I fixed another error.


Victor said...

I don't get it either.

He's an empty-suit with an even emptier head.

But maybe it's because he looks like such a nice naïve guy, with a kind of boyish charm.

The whole water-slurping thing, though funny, had a certain kind of charm to it.
He looked like it was his first turn at public speaking.
And, which of us didn't do pretty much what he did the first time we had to get up in front of people and say something?

Now, imagine what Vlad Putin would with nice naïve guy with boyish charm?


Nefer said...

"And it's quite possible that whichever white guy does get the nomination will pick a female running mate, the better to attack Hillary. "
Brilliant! That is how President McCain got elected! Bring us another VP Palin, republicans!

If there is one thing the republicans do well, it is beating dead horses. Poor horsies.

Blackstone said...

You've answered your own question with empty suit empty head. Rubio isn't smart enough to know he is toast.

aimai said...

There's no reason *not* to run--there's no penalty for it (unless he has to give up his seat), you can raise money, and you keep your name out there as a mover and shaker. You have a slight chance of being selected as VP candidate by the eventual nominee. And you can have a sinecure as a pundit on Fox after you run if you ring the right bells.

main street liberal said...

Actually, the Constitution- in Article II, Section 1- stipulates merely "The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves."

Otherwise, keep up the great work, SM.

Unknown said...

This sentence needs fixing.

"But if Jeb wins the nomination, the Constitution says he and Jeb can't be on the same ticket, because they're both from the same state."

Steve M. said...

Bob, MSL -- see the update.

Unknown said...

Shouldn't the second Jeb reference be Marco?

But if Jeb wins the nomination, the Constitution says he and MARCO can't be on the same ticket....

Steve M. said...

Right. Thanks....

mlbxxxxxx said...

I think the Rubio phenomena is basically a political version of the sunk cost fallacy. Rubio got endowed with a lot of mostly, probably, undeserved political capital a few years ago when he was supposed to be the GOP Latino savior after they fixed immigration (LOL, LOL, LOL.) He would ride a wave of votes from thankful Latinos. When that didn't happen, they're still stuck with Rubio because ain't he great? Otherwise, they look even stupider than usual. Also, they need a token Latino and Cruz is too unstable, more likely to bolt the Party and run independent than serve as a magnet for the Latino vote.

FWIW, I think the GOP will go with a black man for VP. My bet is on Ben Carson. I think it will be Bush/Carson v. Clinton/Castro in the general. And I put the odds on Bush/Carson by a nose. A dirty, underhanded, vote-surpressing nose.

Grung_e_Gene said...

This is bad news for a Presidential Candidate. And that candidate is... Hillary Clinton [or insert any Democratic Presidential Candidate Name here].

Victor said...

Yeah, but it's good news for John McCain!