Here’s the talking points that are being distributed to mainstream media right now. First, they’ll try to convince us that Marco Rubio really won even though he came in third where he was projected. Second, they won’t discuss Ted Cruz over-performing while reporting that Rubio over-performed; as challenging as that sounds, they’ll figure out a way to pull it off. Third, they’ll attack Donald Trump a little bit, but they won’t say very much about this incredibly disheartening loss for a campaign that has been touting the power of the polls for so long.
There are other talking points, but these are the biggest ones. Their goal: downplay Cruz, boost Rubio, and keep Trump supporters energized, though not too much.
Based upon the latest polls, Cruz over-performed by 5% and Rubio over-performed by 7%. The biggest reason for this is that the conservative lane – Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee – generally performed as expected. The establishment lane – Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Carly Fiorina – under-performed. This is one of the reasons that Rubio was 2% higher than Cruz as far as beating expectations. However, the media will paint Rubio’s performance as huge while barely mentioning how well Cruz performed versus expectations.
Here’s the reason for this: the liberal mainstream media wants a Trump candidacy, but if they can’t make that happen, they’ll take Rubio. The last thing they want going against a corrupt candidate like Hillary Clinton is a principled conservative who has minimal baggage. Trump has enough baggage to fill an airport. Rubio’s baggage of personal finance challenges and a definitive history of doing the bidding of special interests such as Big Sugar, online gambling, municipal broadband, and pay-to-play colleges will combine to make him an easy target. With Cruz, all they can really attack is his conservative perspective, a battle they don’t want to have to fight. In other words, they have dirt on Trump and Rubio but not so much against Cruz.
On the other side, the Republican Establishment fears a principled conservative reversing their three-decade control of the party ever since Ronald Reagan left. They can’t afford another Reagan exposing them. This is why even “conservative” news agencies like Fox News will also be downplaying Cruz and promoting Rubio while giving Trump a free pass.
One more thing you’ll see is a blurring of the lines for Rubio. He has been the potential “Establishment choice” for weeks, but they will now try to paint him as an evangelical conservative to try to pull as much from Cruz as possible since it appears that the moderates in the race are all but done.
As Erick Erickson writes:
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) February 2, 2016
You’ll probably see this as a conspiracy theory, but sit back and watch. The next week will play out in the media exactly as we’ve outlined. Why? Power brokers on both sides will do everything they can to keep Cruz from fixing America.