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Marco Rubio Would be an Election Day Disaster

I am bucking both conventional wisdom and my own stated feelings in coming to the conclusion that Marco Rubio, if he somehow wins the Republican nomination, would lose to Hillary Clinton (though possibly not Bernie Sanders). I have long held that just about any Republican can beat the charisma vacuum that is Hillary, but now I have grave doubts about Rubio’s ability to win in November.

Let me first concede that polling data suggests the opposite. Right now the Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Rubio up by 3-4 points over Hillary, with Ted Cruz a little less than a percentage point over Hillary, and Donald Trump several points behind Hillary. The polls over the past couple of months have been fairly consistent, with both Rubio and Cruz holding edges over Hillary, but Hillary holding an edge over Trump (with Sanders beating everyone).

But general election polls nine months out before everything has been decided are not quite reliable. That said, the polls do confirm what many feel to be the case. Hillary Clinton has not one jot of her husband’s political skills or appeal, and if just about anyone besides a 74-year old socialist were her primary opponent, she would be toast by now. Sanders has a certain appeal to the millennial crowd, and the general electorate is likely unaware of the full extent of his radicalism.

For the Republicans, Rubio has a superficial appeal that would seem to sway more independent voters. He is not perceived to be as much of an ideologue as Ted Cruz, and apparently has a more vibrant appeal than the supposedly dour Cruz. Trump, meanwhile, reviles people on all sides of the political spectrum. I for one have not only sworn I would never vote for the man, but have said his nomination would cause me to disassociate myself from the Republican party. In that I am hardly alone. If he can’t even get Republicans to vote for him, then how could Trump possibly win?

As much as it pains me to say, Trump not only can win a general election, it’s possible he would even be a favorite to beat Hillary. Of all the reasons I personally dislike Trump and pray fervently he is not the nominee, his lack of electability has never been one. Even if a decent chunk of conservatives refuse to vote for him, he can actually bring in enough disaffected, middle class whites to offset the loss of Republicans. Besides, don’t doubt that more than a few people vowing not to vote for him will, in the end, blink.

We’ve just alluded to Cruz and his ideological rigidity and lack of charisma. Very many people, even on the right, seem to have a visceral hatred of the man.

So why would either be more likely to win in November than Rubio?

In the 1997 movie The Devil’s Advocate,  the main character (and son of Satan, but we don’t need to get into the plot right now – but the movie’s worth checking out if only for Al Pacino’s amazing hammy scene at the end) Kevin Lomax is a defense attorney for a man accused of murder, played by Craig T. Nelson. That the man he is representing is a loathesome, New York real estate tycoon is not at all connected to the point I’m about to make, but it’s a funny coincidence. Anyway, during opening arguments, Lomax (played by Keannu Reeves) offers his opening remarks:

What I need to tell you won’t take very long at all. I don’t like Alexander Cullen. I don’t think he’s a nice person. I don’t expect you to like him. He’s been a terrible husband to all three of his wives. He’s been a destructive force in the lives of his stepchildren. He’s cheated the city, his partners… …his employees. He’s paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties and fines. I don’t like hm. I’m going to tell you some things during the course of this trial that are going to make you like him even less.

But this isn’t a popularity contest. It’s a murder trial. And the single most important provable fact of this proceeding is that Alexander Cullen was somewhere else when these horrible crimes took place.

I want one thing from you. That’s it. One thing.I want you to ask yourself: “Is not liking this man reason enough to convict him of murder?”

When an angry Cullen confronts Lomax about these remarks, Lomax replies (pardon the very crude language):

I’m gonna bust my ass make sure they hate you. Because as long as you’re boning Melissa, you’re not home killing your wife!

There’s something to be said about laying your cards out on the table. It’s been established that Trump is, well, not a nice guy, and yet he’s winning over Evangelical voters (a topic for another day after a few rounds of heavy drinks). Cruz – not nearly as unlikable as he’s portrayed, but whatever – is also something of a known commodity. As Matt Walsh points out, Cruz is still able to win over voters through the strength of his ideas despite the lack of a strong charismatic appeal (though admittedly this was written after the Iowa caucus when things were looking a bit rosier for Cruz).

The point is though that Cruz and Trump have reputations that precede them. And that might be a good thing for their general election prospects. The voters already have a sense of what these candidates are (even if it’s exaggerated in Cruz’s case, but again, whatever), and yet Cruz still holds his own in a potential election matchup against Hillary. Moreover, one gets the sense that both Trump and Cruz will be able to withstand the blows that Hillary is going to land in debates and in the incessant advertising and media blitz to come. The thing is, people already have a good sense of who these men are, and there’s not much more that the Democrats can do to bring them down. And both men also will be quick to hit back just as hard. Neither man is a boy scout, and for general election purposes, that’s a good thing.

Which brings us to Rubio. The opposition dump that is to come on Marco Rubio is going to make whatever Right to Rise did look like a day at the beach. This has nothing to do with any personal issues that will get dug up, but rather how the Democrats will inevitably go after his “extremism.” Well all those Rubio supporters here in the primary pointing out Rubio’s conservative voting record are going to have to scramble when that voting record is suddenly more deeply explored by the media and the DNC – but I repeat myself. Sure they’ll do the same to Cruz, but again, that’s already known about him. Suddenly the squeaky clean boy wonder won’t look quite as “moderate,” and when his foreign policy bellicosity is added to the mix, suddenly he looks even more extreme than Cruz.

And how would Rubio respond to the attacks that are to come? This is where the rubber hits the road and my lack of confidence in Rubio comes to the fore. Does Rubio have what it takes to take on the Democratic party/Clinton machine? What I’ve seen of Rubio thus far does not impress me. His speaking style inspires some, but has me thinking he needs to hit the decaf. More seriously, I don’t see in him the type of person who can take an attack head-on and deftly go on the counter-attack. Even if one thinks the debate flub against Christie became an exaggerated talking point, it demonstrated a weakness that will be exploited in the general election. I don’t happen to think Rubio is dumb or programmed, nor am I confident that he has the chops to go mano y mujer against Hillary.

What’s more, I don’t think he will pull in as many non-Republicans as Trump, nor will he do as well among Republicans as Cruz. Will conservatives stay at home on election day if Rubio is the nominee? Not necessarily, but as was the case with Romney, I don’t think his nomination will help mobilize the base to engender even greater Republican turnout. Rubio will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as just another Establishment Republican. He’ll get most on the right to dutifully go to the polls for him, but will they knock on doors for him? Will they hit the phone banks?

I’m not even certain Rubio will outperform Cruz among non-Republicans. There is a bitter anti-Establishment mood in this country, and Cruz is a much better vehicle for that feeling than Marco Rubio. Let’s be blunt – are the angry, white middle-class Americans going to storm the polls for one of the leaders of the Gang of Eight? Rubio supporters can roll their eyes if they wish at another invocation of the dreaded Gang of Eight, but it’s a stench that will not leave Marco. And while it’s a stench that will drive away disaffected independents, it will not draw in minority voters.

So I’m bucking conventional wisdom to say that of the three main Republican contenders, Marco Rubio is the most ill-suited to win this November election. Could I be wrong? Of course, I’ve gotten plenty wrong before – except about Jeb Bush not being the nominee. Go me. Therefore if your primary motivation for voting for Rubio is electability – first slap yourself for playing this stupid game because you probably voted for Romney and McCain for the same reasons, and second, know that you’re betting on the wrong horse.

 

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Paul Zummo

71 Comments

  1. The single most salient fact for me when it comes to Rubio is that, like Romney before him, he is spectacularly compromised on the most crucial issue of the election.
    .
    Good analysis. Thanks

  2. I entirely agree and add one observation: he isn’t all that savvy or smart.

    I offer as evidence the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that he co-authored.

    I did a line-by-line review of the bill and categorically state that it was the single most convoluted, internally and externally inconsistent, poorly written, poorly researched and analyzed, bill I have ever seen. It was the very worst that I have seen in 22 years of government service.

    Now, there are a couple of possibilities here: 1) Senator Rubio knew how bad it was and let his leadership make him their fall-guy. 2) Senator Rubio knew it was bad but trusted the Dems when they said that it would be fixed during Reconciliation. 3) Rubio didn’t bother to read any of it and was content to take “credit” for something he had no idea about. Or 4) Rubio thought it was a good bill.

    None of those answers come out well for Marco.

    My personal view? Rubio is an Establishment stooge with no principles or ideas in his noggin. His voting record suggests to me that “safe” turf is the only legislative space he cares to occupy.

    Will I vote for him if he is the nominee? Yes since voting for the GOP Establishment is the lesser of two evils, a legitimate Catholic position as long as the preferred position is not a moral evil. In the Primary though, I will vote for Cruz.

  3. I think a republican nominee is going to win; neither Sanders or Clinton will win.
    I hope the republican nominee is Marco Rubio. I like what I heard him say about foreign policy. I don’t like ” squeaky clean boy wonder” kind of name calling, although I do think he is both very talented and he has good moral qualities that I wish others also had.
    I do pray for him, whether he wins or not.

  4. I thought it was nice when Ben Carson didn’t hear his name and Trump went and stood by him until he was called again. But conceding the point that Trump is not nice, so what? Many effective presidents have not been warm and fuzzy. I think he can beat either one of the Democrat candidates, and will learn a lot between now and election day. Rubio looks like a kid. He’s sharp, I’ll give him that, but Christie was able to be effective against him in debate. I just don’t see him in the White House. Cruz has the personality of wet cardboard, and his quickly getting a reputation for sleazy campaigning. Is the citizenship issue real or not? Too early to arouse much interest for me. People are so sick of this administration, which has Hillary’s fingerprints all over it, they will vote for Trump if they have to hold their noses.

  5. The problem with Trump isn’t that he’s not nice, it’s that he’s a statist virtually indistinguishable from Clinton.

    quickly getting a reputation for sleazy campaigning

    A completely unmerited one, mostly being spread by campaigns infinitely sleazier than his.

    Is the citizenship issue real or not?

    No.

  6. Nate Winchester, my wife, in her most psychoanalyst voice, says “dear, show me on the doll where the freedom of speech touched you.”

  7. Get over it and get with the program. Trump is going to be the next President. And let’s stop with all the bashing. Give the guy a chance. I like it that that he is successful in business. This makes him practical. If politics is about compromise, Donald–Art of the Deal–Trump is our guy. If anyone has a chance of making America great again it is Donald. Besides that Donald will appeal to many working class Democrats and union members so he will have a great opportunity of bringing our country together. Donald will make us feel better about ourselves after eight masochistic years of Obama. And another thing, and this is important, his employees like him.

  8. Donald. I like your direct assessment.

    All the conservatives I know favor Trump. We have to get beyond these liberal/conservative ideological arguments which are tearing our country apart. People want problems solved not arguments won.

  9. “Trump is a complete ass who made his money through crony capitalism of the worst sort…. he is as Republican as Obama is”

    I cannot help but draw parallels between Trump and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Chicago hedge fund gazillionaire who, like Trump, had been pretty much a conventional wealthy liberal all his life until he suddenly got the itch to run for an executive office as a Republican, peddling an appealing but rather vague message of “reform” and “shaking up” state government.

    I won’t bore non-Illinois residents with all the details, but suffiice it to say that he’s left the state with no budget for 8 months and counting, and it’s reaching the point where the state university system, various human services, and other functions are nearing collapse. He insists that the Democrats who control the state legislature are actually to blame, but whether you blame them for not approving his “turnaround” agenda or blame HIM for picking an unwinnable fight depends on your point of view, I suppose.

    Now, there are important differences between Trump and Rauner: Trump, as far as I know, does not despise unions with the same passion that Rauner does (anti-public employee union measures are a core component of Rauner’s agenda). Also, it’s not likely that the Democrats would regain control of both houses of Congress in the same election that Trump wins, so he would not be faced with an implacably hostile legislative body. Still, both men are great at telling people exactly what they THINK their audience wants to hear, while offering little or no adequate explanation of how they plan to accomplish their goals. I could not bring myself to vote for Rauner because I simply did not trust or believe him, and recent developments only confirm my suspicions. I feel the same way about Trump at this point. He may be somewhat less odious than Hillary or Bernie, but that’s about the best I can say about him.

  10. Populism frightens me. That is the truth of the thing.

    When the crowds chant, I cringe.

    FDR was wildly popular and it cost us our Constitution. Obama was an all-to-human “savior.” Now I hear the same sort of un-earned adulation heaped upon a man who was, until ten months ago, held in contempt.

    What, pray tell, does Mr. Trump offer in terms of plans? I suggest it is nothing at all. His ideas amount to “saying what everyone is thinking.” There is no cohesiveness, no philosophical underpinnings, and no effort to hitch anything to the Constitution or the powers of the presidency.

    Mr. Trump is dangerous because he knows nothing and cares nothing for the Republic. That scares me terribly and my vote will not be included with those placing a populist dictator in the Oval Office as our last elected president.

  11. The next comment, tweet, blog, or article I read offering a substantive, detailed reason why anyone should vote for Trump will be the first.

    Here’s a reason:
    .
    Because his State of the Union addresses are going to be more entertaining than the latest Wrestlemania.

  12. Trump is a life long Progressive with a record to prove it. He donated to Planned Parenthood. He brags of being a serial adulterer. He is playing the populism/nationalism technique as did a venal zealot who emerged from the chaos of Weimar Germany. T-Rump appeals to anger, blind rage really, of those who feel betrayed by establishment Republicans and the mendacity of the DemoncRats.
    They cannot be reasoned with, their emotional turmoil has them in high dudgeon. T-Rumps very high negatives among people concerned about constitutional government may indicate that he would lose badly in the general election. Only Clinton’s legal problems promise hope of a DemoncRatic defeat.
    Rubio is a proven Trojan Horse for illegal immigration. Phyllis Schlafly, a former booster, has detailed his many betrayals quite well. He is a Jeb Junior if you care to vote for more Bush style pRogessivism.
    Cruz believes in God and the Constitution passionately. He has all his life.
    There is only one choice for Christians.
    I have never voted for a DemoncRat but shall never vote for T-Rump or Rube-io.

  13. The reality is that we can’t vote Hilary. The courts are gone if Democrats win in Nov. GONE. I’ll vote for the most “electable.” I can’t for the life of me decide who the heck it is now! Hellllllllp!!!

  14. Another Trump/Rauner parallel that bears watching: both men are wealthy enough that they have little to fear, and perhaps much to gain, by destroying “the system” in order to “save” it, while those of us with fewer resources suffer all the consequences.

  15. Because his cabinet will likely consist of Miss Universe contestants?

    Let me tell you, Secretary of Transportation Heidi Klum will be the classiest, most elegant Secretary of Transportation this country has ever seen.

    Seeing more freakout reactions like that of the SJW Nathan linked to will also ease the pain somewhat.

  16. Here letter to the editor published in the New Yorker. It summarizes why I like Trump. Maybe some of you might agree.

    Date: Sun, 21 Feb 2016 19:16:02 -0500
    Subject: THE NEW YORKER article

    “Who is Donald Trump?” The better question may be, “What is Donald Trump?” The answer? A giant middle finger from average Americans to the political and media establishment.
    > Some Trump supporters are like the 60s white girls who dated black guys just to annoy their parents. But most Trump supporters have simply had it with the Demo-socialists and the “Republicans In Name Only.” They know there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Hillary Rodham and Jeb Bush, and only a few cents worth between Rodham and the other GOP candidates.
    > Ben Carson is not an “establishment” candidate, but the Clinton machine would pulverize Carson; and the somewhat rebellious Ted Cruz will (justifiably so) be tied up with natural born citizen lawsuits (as might Marco Rubio). The Trump supporters figure they may as well have some fun tossing Molotov cocktails at Wall Street and Georgetown while they watch the nation collapse. Besides – lightning might strike, Trump might get elected, and he might actually fix a few things. Stranger things have happened (the nation elected an[islamo-]Marxist in 2008 and Bruce Jenner now wears designer dresses.)
    > Millions of conservatives are justifiably furious. They gave the Republicans control of the House in 2010 and control of the Senate in 2014, and have seen them govern no differently than Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Yet those same voters are supposed to trust the GOP in 2016? Why?
    > Trump did not come from out of nowhere. His candidacy was created by the last six years of Republican failures.
    > No reasonable person can believe that any of the establishment candidates [dems or reps] will slash federal spending, rein in the Federal Reserve, cut burdensome business regulations, reform the tax code, or eliminate useless federal departments (the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, etc.). Even Ronald Reagan was unable to eliminate the Department of Education. (Of course, getting shot at tends to make a person less of a risk-taker.) No reasonable person can believe that any of the nation’s major problems will be solved by Rodham, Bush, and the other dishers of donkey fazoo now eagerly eating corn in Iowa and pancakes in New Hampshire.
    > Many Americans, and especially Trump supporters, have had it with:
    > · Anyone named Bush
    > · Anyone named Clinton
    > · Anyone who’s held political office
    > · Political correctness
    > · Illegal immigration
    > · Massive unemployment
    > · Phony “official” unemployment and inflation figures
    > · Welfare waste and fraud
    > · People faking disabilities to go on the dole
    > · VA waiting lists
    > · TSA airport groping
    > · ObamaCare
    > · The Federal Reserve’s money-printing schemes
    > · Wall Street crooks like Jon Corzine
    > · Michelle Obama’s vacations
    > · Michelle Obama’s food police
    > · Barack Obama’s golf
    > · Barack Obama’s arrogant and condescending lectures
    > · Barack Obama’s criticism/hatred of America
    > · Valerie Jarrett
    > · “Holiday trees”
    > · Hollywood hypocrites
    > · Global warming nonsense
    > · Cop killers
    > · Gun confiscation threats
    > · Stagnant wages
    > · Boys in girls’ bathrooms
    > · Whiny, spoiled college students who can’t even place the Civil War in the correct century… and that’s just the short list.
    >
    > Trump supporters believe that no Democrat wants to address these issues, and that few Republicans have the courage to address these issues. They certainly know that none of the establishment candidates are better than barely listening to them, and Trump is their way of saying, “Screw you, Hillary Rodham Rove Bush!” The more the talking head political pundits insult the Trump supporters, the more supporters he gains. (The only pundits who seem to understand what is going on are Democrats Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell and Republican John LeBoutillier. All the others argue that the voters will eventually “come to their senses” and support an establishment candidate.)
    >
    > But America does not need a tune-up at the same old garage. It needs a new engine installed by experts – and neither Rodham nor Bush are mechanics with the skills or experience to install it. Hillary Rodham is not a mechanic; she merely manages a garage her philandering husband abandoned. Jeb Bush is not a mechanic; he merely inherited a garage. Granted, Trump is also not a mechanic, but he knows where to find the best ones to work in his garage. He won’t hire his brother-in-law or someone to whom he owes a favor; he will hire someone who lives and breathes cars.
    >
    > “How dare they revolt!” the “elites” are bellowing. Well, the citizens are daring to revolt, and the RINOs had better get used to it. “But Trump will hand the election to Clinton!” That is what the Karl Rove-types want people to believe, just as the leftist media eagerly shoved “Maverick” McCain down GOP throats in 2008 – knowing he would lose to Obama. But even if Trump loses and Rodham wins, she would not be dramatically different than Bush or most of his fellow candidates. They would be nothing more than caretakers, not working to restore America’s greatness but merely presiding over the collapse of a massively in-debt nation. A nation can perhaps survive open borders; a nation can perhaps survive a generous welfare system. But no nation can survive both – and there is little evidence that the establishment candidates of either party understand that. The United States cannot forever continue on the path it is on. At some point it will be destroyed by its debt.
    >
    > Yes, Trump speaks like a bull wander[ing] through a china shop, but the truth is that the borders do need to be sealed; we cannot afford to feed, house, and clothe 200,000 Syrian immigrants for decades (even if we get inordinately lucky and none of them are ISIS infiltrators or Syed Farook wannabes); the world is at war with radical Islamists; all the world’s glaciers are not melting; and Rosie O’Donnell is a fat pig.
    >
    > Is Trump the perfect candidate? Of course not. Neither was Ronald Reagan. But unless we close our borders and restrict immigration, all the other issues are irrelevant. One terrorist blowing up a bridge or a tunnel could kill thousands. One jihadist poisoning a city’s water supply could kill tens of thousands. One electromagnetic pulse attack from a single Iranian nuclear device could kill tens of millions. Faced with those possibilities, most Americans probably don’t care that Trump relied on eminent domain to grab up a final quarter acre of
    > property for a hotel, or that he boils the blood of the Muslim Brotherhood thugs running the Council on American-Islamic Relations. While Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s greatest fear is someone giving a Muslim a dirty look, most Americans are more worried about being gunned down at a shopping mall by a crazed [islamic] lunatic who treats his prayer mat better than his three wives and who thinks 72 virgins are waiting for him in paradise.
    >
    > The establishment is frightened to death that Trump will win, but not because they believe he will harm the nation. They are afraid he will upset their taxpayer-subsidized apple carts. While Obama threatens to veto legislation that spends too little, they worry that Trump will veto legislation that spends too much.
    >
    > You can be certain that if an establishment candidate wins in November 2016, … [their] cabinet positions will be filled with the same people we’ve seen before. The washed-up has-beens of the Clinton and Bush administrations will be back in charge. The hacks from Goldman Sachs will continue to call the shots. Whether it is Bush’s Karl Rove or Clinton’s John Podesta, who makes the decisions in the White House will matter little. If the establishment wins, America loses.
    >
    > We are that close to losing it all……. >
    >
    > John (Jack) McCandless
    > “You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”
    > David Foster Wallace

  17. Nate Winchester,

    Excellent video. As I posted elsewhere, two supporters of Bernie Sanders came to my front door a week or so ago. I took their pamphlet, tore it apart in front of their spoiled brat millennial faces, yelled at them for being communists, and chased them to their car. As the Lord is my Savior, I will not stand for these Marxists. My wife was watching from the upstairs window. She said they ran away from me scared. Good. She was embarrassed, however, and reprimanded me for not treating them like human beings. Well, commie pinko leftists are not human. They lost their humanity when under Soviet Socialism they murdered 20 million Ukrainians in the great Holodomor and under National Socialism they murder 6 million Jews. I ask you: what would Phinehas have done (Numbers chapter 25)? What would Mattathias have done (1st Maccabees chapter 2)? I won’t go that far and initiate violence nor do I advocate such, but nevertheless I for one will not stand for traitors on my property. Let them emigrate to North Korea where they belong. Those rotten useless imps won’t ever return to my place unless they want more tongue lashing.

  18. LQC – I saw that comment and that’s why I thought of you when that girl started crying. 😉

    I was wondering if you remembered those supporters’ faces and if one of them was in that video.

  19. No, Nate, they were both male (I think but with a Democrat, who knows?) I cannot say they were men because manhood is something that the Democrat Party emasculates.

  20. You mean they “self-identified” as male you evil cis-gendered oppressor hater you! (is that how it goes? they’ve passed my ability to parody any more)

  21. Convince me to dislike Trump even more? Yes, Michael, it has.

    Keep posting, though Michael. If people aren’t convinced that the Trump candidacy is fueled by a strong cult of personality, and juvenile people who think what American politics needs is more WWE-style mayhem (and I’m a wrestling fan), then I’m sure you’re repeated postings should do the trick.

    It’s the best reality show we have going.

    Yes, because further destroying the republic and leaving it a heap of ruin for my children is worth it for your entertainment.

    Join the rest of us when you grow up.

  22. I would be loathe to vote for that philandering, adulterous, foul-mouthed playboy gambler. The only thing that would tempt me is if Bernie the anti-nuclear, eco-wacko, commie pinko geriatric wins the Democratic nomination. My reason is entirely selfish and in that I am a sinful man. I am employed (and have been for 40 years) in nuclear energy and the commie will shut my industry down. I need to feed my wife and children, so since the adulterer won’t threaten my job in that way, I would selfishly vote for him as a last resort only. May God forgive me my selfishness.

  23. LQC. You make an excellent point and a practical one , too. One must do what one can to keep the home fires burning. But you must admit, Lucius, that Trump, despite it all, has charm. And another thing, isn’t Trump the perfect guy to square off against our Pope who in many ways is just like Trump: arrogant, bombastic, heretical, insulting, and the opposite of Papal just as Trump is non-Presidential. The Pope and Trump, what a pair. You couldn’t make up anything this bizarre.

  24. Part of me thinks that Obama should appoint Trump for Supreme Court RIGHT NOW just to watch what would follow (it would be a clever move to possibly force a threat to the Dems off the campaign trail).

  25. I have thought for a while that the difference between electability in the general between Cruz and Rubio was minimal at this point. A large predictor of how well either Republican would do would be based on how much of an implosion Hilary has or how the economy is doing.

    However, what I am concerned with is that Cruz could not beat Trump but that Rubio could. I know that this is not consistent with conventional wisdom. How could Rubio do better in the primary over the more conservative Cruz but not in the general? I think the only way that Trump is stopped is if the “Establishment” comes down on him, and they will not do that for Cruz. Also I know some moderate Republicans who would vote for any Republican in the general, but would have preferences along the lines of Rubio-Trump-Cruz. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am supporting Rubio because of he is the most likely to beat Trump.

    Worrying about who will win the general is like trying to line up your pitching staff for Game 1 of the World Series when you are down 3 games to 0 in the NLCS.

  26. It pains me to disagree with you, Don. You are such a thoughtful guy. I have been a Rubio supporter since he ran for the Senate. Trump would be a disaster. I’ll leave it at that.
    Watch out for the Dems managing to run Biden and Warren. Double Disaster!

  27. However, what I am concerned with is that Cruz could not beat Trump but that Rubio could.

    In a two-man race, I believe the opposite is true, and again this is buttressed by polling data. The majority of Rubio supporters would switch to Cruz absent Rubio, but the opposite is not necessarily true of Cruz supporters. Perhaps Kasich voters would go overwhelmingly to Rubio, and I’m not sure what Carson voters will do. Long story short, while I think either man could beat Trump if it’s just one-on-one, Cruz is better positioned than Rubio at this point to do so.

  28. I have not seen any recent polling data on second choices of Republican primary voters. Rubio has better favorability ratings which would suggest voters would be willing to accept him if forced to choose.

    I haven’t seen any polls to support this but I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the Kasich voters would prefer Trump to Cruz, whereas they probably would choose Rubio over Trump.

  29. Also I get an email popup with every comment. I clicked on “manage subscriptions,” but it said I lacked a valid key. I would sooner view comments when it is convenient for me than get an email every time in an active thread.

  30. I don’t have the poll in front of me, but it showed the 2nd choice for each person surveyed. For the Rubio supporters, a plurality (this is before Bush dropped out) went to Cruz, and something like 20% went to Trump. For Cruz supporters, more went to Trump than to Rubio.

    Another poll (again, I’m sorry, I can’t seem to locate it) had Cruz beating Trump 57-40 in a one-on-one race. I believe it also had Rubio ahead, though by a somewhat smaller margin. This was conducted about two weeks ago, so obviously things could have changed.

  31. Respectfully, how can one say Cruz’s opponents are the ones stirring up the scandals against him? Point taken, at the debate, Trump and Rubio were both weak accusing Cruz of “lying all over the place”, true; but cropped photos of Rubio shaking hands with Obama, the video of Rubio walking by and commenting on the Bible? How about these? And the Bible incident I think is largely bogus because I understand it was a retweet or something. So big deal to that.

    I am for Cruz, I was for Scott Walker before. Now it appears that like Walker’s campaign, the Cruz campaign is shooting itself in the foot. I would still vote for Cruz and consider him “TrusTed”; but all of this is nonetheless, disappointing.

  32. I’m googling around and failing to find it, but I thought I recalled seeing head to head GOP primary polling suggesting that either Rubio or Cruz could poll mid to high 50s against Trump is the field were clear. The problem is that it isn’t.

    I take you point on Cruz’s debating. I’ve been impressed with him in the debates, and although I agree more with Rubio than Cruz on the issues, that’s the one thing that has me hesitating. I think Cruz would take it to Clinton much more effectively in the primaries.

    But on the general election… Well, all I have to point to is polling that we’ve both seen, but it seems to me that as by far the most well known of the candidates, it’s hard to imagine Trump getting much better than he is doing now in head to head match ups — unless Hillary goes to jail or something. So my take from that would be that while Trump would steal working class white votes from Clinton in some areas, he’d lose more potential GOP voters than he’d gain.

  33. Political success is based on practical realities. There is no such thing as a “perfect” candidate. Trump, Cruz and Rubio are the only realistic candidates the GOP has now. Clinton will be the Democratic candidate unless she is indicted, and maybe even that won’t stop her. Trump is an amoral jerk and has no track record of supporting pro-life causes. Even before the kerfuffle last week with the Pope he was saying some irritating things about Catholics, such as “accusing” Cruz of being a secret Catholic. Rubio is at least solidly conservative, pro defense and Catholic. Rubio is not perfect on immigration, but I find myself agreeing with him on 90% of issues that are important to me. Cruz is just so unlikeable (does he ever smile)that he could not ever win a general election. He also is not particularly friendly to Catholics, given he particular brand of evangelical Protestantism.

  34. Cruz and his preacher father believe in and espouse the heresy of the Seven Hills Dominion theology. You can google it if you like. Cruz’s brand of Protestant fundamentalism is anti Catholic, but he himself has not (I think) made anyi Catholic noises (yet).
    .
    But even given Cruz’s heresy, he is infinitely preferrable to the Nancy Pelosi / John Kerry / Ted Kennedy / Joe Biden type of heretics. So if Cruz wins the nomination, then I will vote for him.
    .
    PS, I also voted for non-Christian Mormon Mitt Romney.

  35. Diane Marshall sounds like a fruitcake:

    Dianne Marshall says:
    I heard him later say he has, but it was a personal matter for him. I respect that. Why should he cast his pearls before SWINE. The real test in a man’s faith is in his walk. Trump speaks the truth and has a lifetime of doing great things for others.

  36. I don’t care to say a negative about anyone but I’ve read that blog before and “fruitcake” definitely is going in the right direction per the Marshall Report.

  37. Perhaps it might help to desiminate the information contained in the film you can find and review in the web field of this message.

    I am glad to hear others feel the same about trump. Please review the film by Dana Loesch.

    More importantly, I believe is extremely important to distribute this infirmation in the catholic but as well as outside the Catholic relm.

    God bless!

  38. Remember on election day:
    McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan would have been better than the disaster of Hope and Change Obama.
    We have Ross Perot to thank for two terms of the Clintons.

    Don’t stay home on election day and don’t vote for a third party candidate.

  39. Remember on election day:
    McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan would have been far better than the disaster of Hope and Change Obama.
    We have Ross Perot to thank for two terms of the Clintons.

    Don’t stay home on election day and don’t vote for a third party candidate.

  40. Didn’t vote for Romney or McCain, but my first concern is electability, and come on. There is a certain amount of out of touch, just in a lived sense, you have to be if you look at Cruz and think he is actually more electable than Rubio to the general election voter. Come on.

  41. Well Clay, when you make such a strong argument as “come on,” I think I’ll now have to rethink my position. Yours is a fully thought-out, well articulated position, and I have no choice but to mull it over.

  42. While I’m not about to rescind my post, the Marco Rubio we saw tonight would beat Hillary. Thanks to both Senators for exposing that fraud. Hopefully it’s not too little too late.

  43. Cuomo is giving Trump the leeway to spin. I though Trump was the one who choked and repeated tonight-
    how great he is, how great he is– you know the tune.

  44. “While I’m not about to rescind my post, the Marco Rubio we saw tonight would beat Hillary. Thanks to both Senators for exposing that fraud. Hopefully it’s not too little too late.”

    That was a grand debate Paul. I kept wondering where this Cruz, and this Rubio, have been? The way they tore into a hapless Trump was a joy to behold! They would be a formidable team.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/26/rubio-cruz-tag-team-trump-at-fiery-gop-debate.html

  45. It is correct that if Rubio were the nominee that Hillary would win.
    .
    Rubio can not carry his (and my) State of Florida, because he has lied to us too many times. (Promised one thing and done the exact opposite.)
    He is a real flim flam artist of the worst kind.
    .
    As of 2/25, Rubio is polling at less than 21% in FL.
    Many people in FL would stay home rather than voting for “lying” Rubio in the general election.
    And this would give the State to Clinton, since FL is usually close in a general election anyway.

  46. At the 2/25 debate – both Rubio and Cruz were raising issues from 7 years to 33 years old regarding Trump, rather than anything even somewhat current.
    And this is what they do in their attack ads as well.
    .
    This is the oldest trick in the book.
    Typical lying politicians – pretending these were current.
    .
    People change over time.
    Even Reagan was a liberal Dem at one time, and did not become GOP until he was 51 years old.
    .
    In addition the official Senatorial records of both Rubio & Cruz (Rubio from 2011, and Cruz from 2013, – going forward to date)
    are very different than their campaign rhetoric.
    And this makes them liars.

  47. At the 2/25 debate – both Rubio and Cruz were raising issues from 7 years to 33 years old regarding Trump,

    They were raising current issues, including Trump being sued NOW for fraud, and his current lack of any substantive healthcare plan (or lack of any substantive plan regarding anything). Donald Trump’s comments re: single payer and wanting the government to pay for everyone were uttered during this campaign.

    Typical lying politicians

    As Ted Cruz said, lying about someone else being a liar makes you a liar.

    Even Reagan was a liberal Dem at one time,

    Do not compare Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan. Reagan spent decades studying politics, governing as a conservative, and making forceful arguments on behalf of conservative principles.

    In addition the official Senatorial records of both Rubio & Cruz (Rubio from 2011, and Cruz from 2013, – going forward to date)
    are very different than their campaign rhetoric.


    Again, you are the one who is lying, at least as it relates to Cruz (Rubio has been a bit more slippery). There is no difference between the actions and deeds of Senator Cruz and candidate Ted Cruz.

  48. “At the 2/25 debate – both Rubio and Cruz were raising issues from 7 years to 33 years old regarding Trump, rather than anything even somewhat current.
    And this is what they do in their attack ads as well.”

    Asking Trump what his plan in regard to health insurance reform is from 7-33 years ago? They raised quite a few issues where the empty headed Trump could only fall back on his trademarks of bluster and insults. Trump is an empty suit with a bad toupe.

  49. I’m constantly surprised at my fellow Catholics who say they won’t vote for Trump if he were to win the Republican nomination. If you stay home or vote third party you’ll be pulling the lever for Hillary/Berny. That’s exactly how we got Obama for 8 miserable years. Do you want 8 more years of this disaster? I have even heard a so-called conservative associate of mine say they’d vote for Hillary over Trump.

    My vote in the primary will be for Cruz but I will vote for any Republican in the general over Hillary or Berny. Voted McCain/Palin and Romney/Ryan because I knew what kind of disaster Obama would be…sadly too many of my fellow Republicans did not vote or even voted 3rd party.

    Trump is far from perfect and has historically held liberal views and supported liberal causes in the past, there is no getting around that. Today though, his views have changed. Do I believe him? Not really, but at least he says he’s pro-life and pro-second amendment. You don’t get that from Berny or Hillary.

    If a Catholic votes for a democrat in the primary or general they should bow their heads in shame. Saying that welfare and healthcare is more important then the right to life or to defend yourself is bat-s***-crazy.

    There is a huge problem of illegal immigration and Trump has caught that train from the beginning of his candidacy, that reason alone is why he’s doing so well in the polls and election results. Rubio says that we can’t deport 12 million illegal immigrants. Well, we can. Eisenhower deported 6 million illegal immigrants during his time in office….it can be done and should be done.

    A major overhaul of the H1-B visa program also needs to be addressed. Did you see that former Disney IT guys testimony to the Senate yesterday? Simply unbelievable whats being done to regular Americans…all in the name of the all-mighty dollar.

  50. If you stay home or vote third party you’ll be pulling the lever for Hillary/Berny.

    I read comments like this and I wonder why I bother writing content, especially if people won’t even bother reading beyond the headline.

  51. ” I for one have not only sworn I would never vote for the man, but have said his nomination would cause me to disassociate myself from the Republican party. In that I am hardly alone. If he can’t even get Republicans to vote for him, then how could Trump possibly win?”

    Did you not write that Paul??? Common man!
    I read your entire article and happen to agree that Rubio would not do well in the General election.

  52. Paul,

    I wouldn’t expect you to necessarily change your view from the debate on whether Rubio could win the general. However, does it make you feel less inclined to think that Trump could win the general? Hillary could make at least some of the same points about Trump and Wolf is not going to come in and save him when it is Hillary as the other candidate. Besides the media will actually do the necessary ground work for her as opposed to Cruz and Rubio having to do it all themselves. I think things like the Polish workers and his pressuring that woman to leave her house are going to be issues that will resonate with Independent voters.

  53. Michael D,

    With regards to Rubio – as I commented above, it did make me rethink how he would do in the general, though I still think he’s not as good a general election candidate as Cruz. With regards to Trump, well, again, what you see is what you get. The public already knows who he is, though there might be a whole litany of things that has yet to be uncovered. You’re right about the media, and they will seek to destroy him- but I still see him wooing the disaffecteds. And again, I hope I don’t get to see how this prediction plays out.

  54. I’d urge people to read Pat Buchanan’s latest column; Trump attracting crowds like no Presidential candidate has, perhaps ever…Democratic voting in small numbers. Check their primary numbers. Yes, we hear about the polls showing how the candidates run against each other.

  55. The Donald’s Odds Against Hillary
    Thursday – February 25, 2016 at 8:51 pm
    By Patrick J. Buchanan

    In a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump race – which, the Beltway keening aside, seems the probable outcome of the primaries – what are the odds the GOP can take the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court?

    If Republicans can unite, not bad, not bad at all.

    Undeniably, Democrats open with a strong hand.

    There is that famed “blue wall,” those 18 states and D.C. with a combined 242 electoral votes, just 28 shy of victory, that have gone Democratic in every presidential election since 1988.

    The wall contains all of New England save New Hampshire; the Acela corridor (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland); plus Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin in the Middle West; and the Pacific coast of California, Oregon, Washington – and Hawaii.

    Changing demography, too, favors the Democrats.

    Barack Obama carried over 90 percent of the black vote twice and in 2012 carried over 70 percent of the Hispanic and Asian votes. These last two voting blocs are the fastest-growing in the USA.

    A third Democratic advantage is simple self-interest.

    Half the nation now receives U.S. government benefits – in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, student loans, rent subsidies, school lunches and Earned Income Tax Credits, etc.

    Folks who rely on government benefits are unlikely to rally to a party that promises to cut government. And as half the nation pays no income tax, these folks are unlikely to be thrilled about tax cuts.

    Bernie Sanders, who promises free college tuition and making Wall Street and the 1 percent pay for it, knows his party.

    While these realities of national politics would seem to point to inexorable Democratic dominance in coming decades, there are worms in the apple.

    First, there is the strangely shrunken and still shrinking Democratic leadership base. As the Daily Caller reports, under Obama, Democrats have lost a net of more than 900 state legislature seats, 12 governors, 69 U.S. House and 13 Senate seats. Such numbers suggest a sick party.

    Republican strength on Capitol Hill is again as great as it was in the last years of the Roaring ’20s.

    Second, due to Trump, viewership of the Republican debates has been astronomical – 24 million for one, 23 million for another.

    The turnout at Trump rallies has been unlike anything seen in presidential primaries; and what’s more, the GOP voter turnout in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada set new records for the party.

    Yet voter turnout for the Clinton-Sanders race has fallen, in every contest, below what it was in the Clinton-Obama race in 2008.

    Bernie’s millennials aside, the energy and excitement has been on the Republican contest, often a sign of party ascendancy.

    Not only would Trump at the top of the GOP ticket assure a huge turnout (pro and con), he is the quintessence of the anti-Washington, anti-establishment candidate in a year when Americans appear to want a wholesale housecleaning in the capital.

    As a builder and job creator, Trump would surely have greater cross-party appeal to working-class Democrats than any traditional Republican politician. Moreover, when Bernie Sanders goes down to defeat, how much enthusiasm will his supporters, who thrilled to the savaging of Wall Street, bring to the Clinton campaign?

    This is the year of the outsider, and Hillary is the prom queen of Goldman Sachs. She represents continuity. Trump represents change.

    Moreover, on the top Trump issues of immigration and trade, the elites have always been the furthest out of touch with the country.

    In the 1990s, when Bill Clinton fought the NAFTA battle, the nation rebelled against the deal, but the establishment backed it. When Republicans on Capitol Hill voted for most-favored-nation status for China, year in and year out, did Republican grass roots demand this, or was it the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable?

    On immigration, where are the polls that show Middle Americans enthusiastic about increasing the numbers coming? Where is the majority demanding amnesty or open borders?

    The elites of Europe are as out of touch as America’s.

    Angela Merkel, Time’s Person of the Year in 2015, is at risk of being dumped in 2016 if she does not halt the next wave of Middle Eastern refugees who will be arriving on Europe’s shores when the seas calm in the spring in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.

    If we believe the immigration issue Trump has seized upon is explosive here, look to Europe. In the Balkans and Central Europe, even in Austria, the barriers are going up and the border guards appearing.

    Mass migration from the Third World to the First World is not only radicalizing America. It could destroy the European Union. Anger over any more migrants entering the country is among the reasons British patriots now want out of the EU.

    America is crossing into a new era. Trump seems to have caught the wave, while Clinton seems to belong to yesterday.

    A note of caution: This establishment is not going quietly.
    Share Pat’s Columns!

  56. Pat likes a chess game and likes to figure the ins and outs, but I think when he pulls the curtain behind him as he enters the voting booth he would personally do the right thing. I don’t really think he would support a bad man because he thought he would win. He would do the right thing.

  57. Rubio has clear flaws and could lose (his “broadening” appeal seems very surface-level,) but that doesn’t mean Trump or Cruz would have an easier time. With Trump, any new, atypical voters he draws in could be offset by those he repels, both in driving up Democratic turnout & alienating Republicans who will not vote for him. Cruz meanwhile just strikes me as a base fantasy candidate. His arguments are entirely tailored to people who are already fully onboard.

    I know the argument is that this doesn’t matter, it’s all about driving up turnout and there aren’t as many swing voters these days. But posts like this seem to treat the general election as mostly a matter of intra-conservative politics. I am not convinced that the balance of power in this country so easily favors Republicans in presidential years currently, regardless of Hillary not being the candidate Obama was.

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