The narrative that we’ll see from Fox News and other outlets over the next few days is that Marco Rubio is the Republican party’s best chance against Donald Trump. The reality is that support for Rubio is the fastest path for a Trump nomination. Sadly, the “powers that be” are well aware of this but are going with their narrative anyway.
Rubio came in second (barely), has great endorsements, and will benefit from Jeb Bush dropping out. These things all play well to the narrative. Unfortunately, they’re just smokescreens to the reality that Rubio has no path to the nomination.
There are only two candidates who can emerge from the “SEC Primaries” with a substantial number of delegates. Marco Rubio is not one of them. He can play the spoiler against Ted Cruz by garnering as much of the anti-Trump vote as possible, but this will not be enough to usurp Trump. On the other hand, if the Republican Establishment were to wake up and focus their energies on revealing what a disaster a Trump nomination would be, there’s a chance that Cruz can emerge from the March 1 primaries with a substantial lead and a pathway to the nomination.
Supporting Rubio is supporting Trump. There’s no other way of looking at it. He will very likely make it through the first 15 primaries without a single victory and therefore has no conceivable pathway to the nomination. This is not a secret. The power brokers know this. They also know that the only chance they have of defeating Cruz and Trump is through a brokered convention if they can prevent both from getting enough delegates to win the nomination outright. That has been their plan since New Hampshire and it’s starting to look less and less likely. Their strategy is turning against them. They haven’t taken down Cruz enough and they didn’t even try to take down Trump. Their plans have backfired.
Why, then, would they continue down this road? There are two reasons. First, as much as they dislike Trump, they absolutely despise Cruz. Trump might be pretending to be anti-Establishment but his actions have demonstrated that he’s even more malleable than most lifelong politicians. Having him as the nominee is favorable to a Cruz nomination because they realize that have no control over Cruz.
The second reason they’re still propping up Rubio is because of the outside chance that Trump may still implode. He won’t. If he was going to implode, he would have done so already. It’s not for lack of trying. He’s said and done things that would have sunk any other Presidential candidate at any other point in history. This is Donald J. Trump we’re talking about, though. People expect him to be outrageous and they love him for it. To implode, he’d have to do worse than act like a liberal or shoot someone on Fifth Avenue. He’d have to get caught on tape doing something crazy like calling his supporters stupid or admitting that his candidacy is a crafted ploy to assist his good friend Hillary Clinton into the White House. Otherwise, he’s not going to do anything that will get him out of Rubio’s way.
The Republican Establishment is beside itself trying to figure out how to make their power felt. They’re used to losing general elections but they haven’t lost a nomination process since Ronald Reagan. That was disastrous for them and they never want a real conservative to sit in the White House again. That’s the biggest reason they’d rather have Trump over Cruz.
There are two only two people who have a realistic path to the nomination and Marco Rubio isn’t one of them. Right now, it’s Trump’s to lose. The longer that people latch onto Rubio, the more likely it will be that Trump is the nominee and the Clinton becomes the President.