Marco Rubio guns for a Pyrrhic victory: Winning the primary to lose the general

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hillary Clinton is worried about only 3 Republicans.

Just one day after Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said that multiculturalism was bad for the United States, Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a video highlighting rhetoric by Bush and other Republican candidates on immigration, the Spanish language and Muslims. Only three Republican presidential candidates keep Clinton campaign staffers up at night, Politico reports — and no, they aren’t Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina.WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Americans have not elected a non-politician president in modern times — with the exception of Dwight Eisenhower, who won World War II — and they’re not going to do so in 2016.But if it’s like Rubio’s other moments — rising to second in May after his official campaign announcement, wall-to-wall press criticizing President Barack Obama’s new Cuba policy in December — the confluence of his rise in the polls and the luck of Wisconsin Gov. With Scott Walker flaming out and the rest of the establishment candidates fizzling after a summer futilely spent trying to derail Donald Trump, Marco Rubio is emerging as the hot new favorite for the Republican nomination by virtue of attrition.

So the winnowing of the Republican field of more than a dozen candidates, which has already started at the bottom, will inevitably claim the three non-politician candidates currently polling at the top of the pack — perhaps even before the first primary contest in February. Pressed by conservative host Sean Hannity during a Monday night interview on Fox News, the Florida senator said he’s open to a path to citizenship for people in the U.S. illegally, but only a decade or more after passage of bills to secure the border and modernize the legal immigration system. “I don’t think it’s a decision you have to make on the front end. John Kasich, with the text “The Republican vision for America.” The first clip is of Bush, saying at a Cedar Falls, Iowa, campaign stop that “we should not have a multicultural society.” Bush’s comments were made in response to a question from a woman who asked how the U.S. government could help refugees better integrate in society. He’s made a name for himself as the candidate of basic political competence in a field of clowns, bigoted clowns, has-been clowns, and the guy named Bush, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, even if it is a low bar to clear. But talk to most strategists, and the current GOP frontrunners are nothing but “rabble” who won’t be able to mount a serious challenge in the general election.

Donald Trump’s shtick is already fading and many commentators noted after his fumbling performance in the primary debate last week that he doesn’t seem to have a second act beyond his bullying and blustering. Due to Rubio’s relentlessly on-message, penny-pinching campaign style, he’s reluctant to boast about his turn of fortune — or to spend freely targeting his rivals now. “We need everybody not named Marco to fizzle. The video includes several clips of Trump, including one where he is speaking at the second Republican presidential debate in Simi Valley, Calif., saying that “this is a country where we should speak English, not Spanish.” It also includes the exchange between Trump and a man at a New Hampshire town hall who asserted that President Barack Obama was a Muslim.

Jeb Bush, on the other hand, has the track record and the institutional support to — at least, theoretically — run a formidable campaign against Clinton. His main contribution at the end of the day may be to discredit Carly Fiorina, a failed corporate CEO whose record in business will not survive the scrutiny her new prominence will bring. At the same time, Trump’s unfiltered bombast is exposing the misogyny and racism better cloaked in the rhetoric of Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz while occupying their space and squeezing out their support.

We need everybody to slowly fizzle out, and we think they will,” Sullivan said Monday, just as the news of Walker’s withdrawal broke, during a “Meet the Campaign Managers” event sponsored by Google, National Review and YouTube. The video also highlights Carson, the retired neurosurgeon whose campaign is currently in a firestorm over his comments that a Muslim should not be president, and Kasich, the Ohio governor who under fire last week for a story he told during a campaign stop in California about tipping the Hispanic maid in his hotel. Ben Carson will enjoy his 15 minutes of fame and go the way of Herman Cain, Steve Forbes and all the others whose success in their chosen field does nothing to qualify them for our nation’s top political post. Long term, however, Walker’s abrupt departure could pay big dividends for Rubio, who immediately welcomed nine top Walker grass-roots activists and campaign staffers from three early states.

Rubio actually shares a number of weaknesses that plagued Walker – he’s a lifelong politician running in an extremely anti-establishment political environment; and the base of the party doesn’t trust him on certain issues, like immigration. Tampa Bay Times Political editor Adam Smith points out that Florida’s winner-take-all primary — meaning that all 100 delegates will go to the winner, rather than being divided among the top finishers — could hurt Bush. Rubio’s comments came hours after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, one of the most outspoken skeptics of immigration, dropped out of the White House race, and they could help the Floridian win over the many Republican voters who strongly oppose legalization or citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Rubio made enemies on the right in 2013 when he joined Democrats and a small group of Republicans in helping to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate. Many GOP political consultants early on believed that Rubio would never run for the presidency if his mentor Bush did so the state primary became winner-take-all. “After Bush signaled he was likely to run, Republican legislative leaders set the 2016 Florida primary for March 15 — and made the primary winner-take-all, rather than a primary in which several candidates could divide the state’s 100 or so delegates proportionally,” Smith wrote. “It was a gift to Bush, to ensure he could count on winning a big pile of delegates in case he did not dominate earlier contests.” Additionally, the poll shows that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton crushing her opponent Sen.

The legislation died a slow, tortured death as conservatives in the House of Representatives refused to allow any action on “amnesty,” and Rubio – sensing which way the political wind was blowing – moved to distance himself from his own bill, eventually disavowing it altogether. Rubio was so desperate to regain favor with conservatives that he actually started rewriting history and presenting himself as a sadly prescient critic of the legislation he shepherded through the Senate and voted for.

He’s completely abandoned his support for comprehensive reform and now subscribes to the much more conservative-friendly position that the border must be thoroughly and completely secured before any talk of further reforms can start. Yes, Jeb Bush, who, when all is said and done, has a much better chance of rebooting his campaign and overcoming his early stumbles than Hillary Clinton does.

With his strong debate performances, Rubio is making the best of his opportunity to be the second Barack Obama — an inexperienced first-term senator who nonetheless is possessed of charisma and the momentum of an historic breakthrough in a country with a growing Latino population. Marco has repeatedly stated—and did so again last night—that he is open to green cards after 10 years and he has outlined a specific idea on how to do that.” Privately, the campaign is hopeful that its strategy of laying low, performing well in debates, granting safe media interviews and staying out of food fights with Donald Trump is paying off. In his hasty retreat this week, Walker urged other Republican hopefuls polling badly to withdraw as well, so that the party could begin to coalesce around a candidate not named Trump.

As he does nationally, Trump leads overall, with about 32 percent support, followed by Rubio (19 percent) and Bush (11 percent), according to a Florida Atlantic University poll first published Tuesday night by the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Rubio’s answer here is an excellent example of why Democrats, liberals, and immigration activists are so distrustful of Republicans when it comes to their “border security first” immigration stance. The hardline conservatives within the party who dominate the immigration agenda don’t want anything except border security and will move to block any legislation that goes beyond fence building and border militarization. The comprehensive approach was meant to avoid this pitfall by providing for border security but also building in specific triggers for moving forward with reforms to the immigration system and legal status for immigrants already in the country. Chris Christie may be the only person who hasn’t realized that the media will continue to probe his scandal-ridden administration in New Jersey until he is forced from the field.

None of the leaders in the GOP primaryhas ever held elected office: Ben Carson (14 percent), Carly Fiorina (15 percent) and Donald Trump (24 percent). Rubio used to believe this was a reasonable approach to reform before conservatives sabotaged him, and he’s spent the time since then tacking steadily rightward to make amends. The Washington Post took the baton this week with a long report about Christie installing a head of the state National Guard who is fostering what critics call a “toxic” command climate rife with cronyism and racism. Whereas it was clear that Newt Gingrich lingered in the 2012 campaign so he could sell his books, it’s hard to discern what might be motivating Huckabee or Cruz — a book contract? a(nother) television gig? a vice presidential slot? nothing better to do?

When Trump finally does fold, the party’s flirtation with him will look like a final adolescent fling before voters settle down to the serious business of selecting a conservative politician who can win a general election. Johnson was among a host of skittish Walker supporters and donors who were sending out feelers to the Rubio camp days before Walker dropped out on Monday. In their debates and sniping at each other, the Republican candidates are helping voters and donors perform the task fairly efficiently even as we watch.

That activity has intensified following the second GOP primary debate, where Walker hardly got a word in while Rubio scored significant time in the spotlight, most of which he used to show off foreign policy chops. Rubio is unlikely to follow in Walker’s footsteps and ramp up a large on-the-ground Iowa operation — the expense of which probably helped lead to Walker’s decision to quit the race when he couldn’t raise enough money for the ground operations. You can go on our website and buy them.” “I knew it was over for Walker,” said Hurst, who called the governor “one of my great friends.” But, he continued, “a presidential election doesn’t wait for anybody.” “We’ve got two debates under our feet, the senator shined in both debates, and more people are noticing he’s very presidential,” said George Seay, a major Rubio fundraiser who is co-hosting an event for him in Dallas on Tuesday night, with tickets starting at $2,000 per couple.

Seay added that in the past week, he’s received an uptick in inquiries about Rubio from Walker donors. “We want to win in February, March, April, so I’m not surprised we’re getting attention, but we’ve got a long way to go,” said Seay, echoing the Rubio campaign party line. “This doesn’t sound like a strategy, it doesn’t sound like a way to get votes,” Fabrizio said. “This is worse than a bad strategy: Sitting around and waiting for someone to get struck by lightning or until someone dies?

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