Why Rubio’s supporters are running to Cruz
Marco Rubio was supposed to represent a new type of Republican Presidential candidate, one who could appeal to the masses and unite the party. As this campaign has shown, he’s been at best a disappointment and to some he’s been an outright failure. What happened?
As we’ve seen from the campaign trail, he and his team are lazy strategists. They make a lot of moves but their failure to understand the economy of nationwide political campaigns has kept them from focusing in the areas that need the most attention. When he should be voting on the Senate floor for the sake of his campaign, he was fundraising. When he should have been fundraising, he was making his case for endorsements. When he should have been fishing for endorsements, he was back in DC. It was as if they planned his schedule around convenience rather than sound campaign strategy.
This was the flaw of the campaign, but it’s deeper than that. Rubio has had a robotic approach to campaigning in general. He either hasn’t allowed his strengths of passion and eloquence to come out at the right times or his skills were overestimated. Whichever one it is, the results have been lukewarm. By this time, Mitt Romney and John McCain had positioned themselves as the clear Republican Establishment choice. Romney was doing okay in the polls and McCain was further back than Rubio at this point, but both had solidified their credentials as the prudent choice among a sea of rightwingers. This year, despite having a single strong rightwinger and a real estate mogul to contend with, Rubio still hasn’t emerged. He hasn’t transcended to be the pragmatic Republican’s choice.
All of this favors Ted Cruz. While the moderate lane is still up for grabs between Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich, Cruz stands alone as the only true conservative. This means that many of the voters who are looking for a strong choice to take against the Republicans are considering leaning a little further right than normal.
Cruz has demonstrated that he can have universal appeal despite his conservative views, a trait that pretty much nobody saw coming. He’s not the Establishment and has fought them tooth and nail, but many voters who would normally vote for the Establishment candidate have shifted to Cruz because he seems to have his ducks in a row while the Establishment candidates are a hot mess.
Then, there’s Donald Trump. His base is unwavering. It would seem that any attempt to draw them into another candidate is challenging because they represent the “low information voters” the helped put President Obama in power. Just as his base is locked, so too is the base of voters who are absolutely against him. If they can’t find an alternative that can beat Trump for the nomination (and it appears that they can’t), the Cruz is the only way to oppose the Donald.
Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada represent the prelude to the big “SEC Primaries” on March 1. With Rubio showing no signs of winning any of them, his supporters are looking for the best anti-Trump candidate. That candidate is Ted Cruz.