To All Candidates Not Named Cruz or Rubio: Time to Fall on Your Swords

 

The Republican candidates are unanimous in two convictions: that this is a do-or-die election and that each believes that only he is selfless enough to be our nation’s savior.

Otherwise, why haven’t any of the not-going-to-wins thrown their support behind either Senators Cruz or Rubio, the two plausibly-elected conservative candidates? And why don’t Walker, Perry, and Jindal do the same? Unless something happens in the interim, it is plausible — if not probable — that Trump will win both Iowa and New Hampshire and then clinch the nomination. That should be enough to motivate a selfless series of endorsements from those candidates who haven’t a reasonable chance. After all, I thought they were team players running in the interest of the country? But, for all candidates not named Cruz and Rubio, pride is apparently more than equal to their professed desire to rally the GOP to the White House.

Specifically, I think that Carson throwing his support to either Rubio or Cruz before Iowa could have a game-changing effect. A sober analysis indicates that he won’t win, but he’d be more than a footnote in history if he were able to swing his supporters to an electable conservative (Carson’s Real Clear Politics Average in Iowa: 7.4 percent).

Similarly, Jeb Bush — whose foolish and arrogant candidacy arguably paved the way for Trump — could redeem his name by tossing his support behind someone with a chance to win New Hampshire (Bush’s Granite State RCPA: 7.8 percent). As things stand, however, his only accomplishment will be pulling down Rubio. According to Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard:

On December 7, [Right to Rise] the pro-Bush super PAC launched its all-out offensive on Rubio, the first of what would become a $20 million assault on the Florida senator that ran nationally on Fox News and extensively in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The first ad asked, called ‘Desk,’ asked voters to imagine Rubio – along with Ted Cruz and Donald Trump – in the Oval Office. Rubio ‘skipped crucial national security hearings and votes just to campaign,’ the narrator says. That ad was followed by another, ‘Briefing,’ that also hit Rubio for missing votes and a third, ‘Promotion,’ which alleged that Rubio was missing votes even before he decided to run for president. In early January, the super PAC went up with an ad called ‘Vane,’ which portrayed Rubio as a flip-flopper on immigration and “just another Washington politician we can’t trust.’

Sprinkled among these Rubio attack ads were spots criticizing Governor Chris Christie and Governor John Kasich as ineffective. But the main target was Rubio – on the receiving end of some $20 million of the roughly $22 million that Right to Rise spent on negative ads between early December and this past weekend.

Reading this sort of thing makes me long for the days when candidates were selected in smoke-filled backroom deals.

There are 42 comments.

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  1. Naudious Inactive
    Naudious
    @Stoicous

    I’m not so sure voters choose who to support after their candidate drops out based on who that candidate endorses.

    There is time to drop and support other candidates between now and the convention,  but it is somewhat important that most of the candidates in now stay in through Iowa and New Hampshire. Just so we can see how it turns out in an actual vote. Remember that polls are liable to serious fallacies, especially when this many people are running.

    • #1
  2. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Carson endorsing Cruz (assuming his supporters would follow his lead) might tip the balance in Iowa, but that’s about the only place it would make a difference. Trump is beating everyone like a drum in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida.

    Mathematically, Trump doesn’t have a majority. So if everybody got behind either Cruz or Rubio, Trump would be in trouble. But they won’t. Trump will get some of Carson’s supporters and probably some of Christie’s. And Trump will still have more than 1/3 of Republican voters, so unless nearly all of the minor candidates’ supporters pick the same alternative candidate, Trump is still ahead.

    Don’t blame Trump’s success on Ben Carson and Jeb. Trump got out there and said things that needed to be said. He might have said them more crudely than the country club set would prefer, but what he’s saying has struck a chord with voters.

    And BTW, what happens if all the minor candidates go for Rubio and Trump and Cruz make a deal? Trump and Cruz do have a majority between them, and Cruz might see the VP slot or possibly a Supreme Court nomination as better than finishing third. There’s no love lost between Cruz and the GOP establishment, and if he found himself stuck in third place, he might decide to go full Ahab on Rubio.

    • #2
  3. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Ion: And why don’t the governors – Walker, Perry and Jindal – do the same?

    But these people are all out of the race, and their endorsement doesn’t necessarily do much in the early states. They’ve all spoken out against Trump, one way or another.

    Don’t know about Perry or Jindal, but Walker has said he might endorse — but not until closer to Wisconsin’s primary, when it might actually have some sort of impact. (He’d also probably agree with the rest of your post — he’s explicitly called on long-shot candidates to drop out.)

    If your primary goal is to stop Trump with whatever candidate is most viable, the dilemma in endorsing now is it’s not clear what candidate that is, and you don’t want to split the vote down the line.

    As for dropping out, agreed save that it’s hard to blame candidates for waiting at least until after Iowa. Except for Jeb Bush, who should have realized a long time ago that he was doing more harm than good.

    • #3
  4. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Leigh

    As for dropping out, agreed save that it’s hard to blame candidates for waiting at least until after Iowa. Except for Jeb Bush, who should have realized a long time ago that he was doing more harm than good.

    Amen.

    • #4
  5. Naudious Inactive
    Naudious
    @Stoicous

    I knew Jeb Bush would fall apart when I first heard his name mentioned in 2014.

    I forgot who he was, I just heard the name.

    • #5
  6. Bucky Boz Member
    Bucky Boz
    @

    Trump has said nothing that needs to be said. He has exposed a third of Republican primary voters as not being serious or informed about policy.

    • #6
  7. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    Bucky Boz:Trump has said nothing that needs to be said. He has exposed a third of Republican primary voters as not being serious or informed about policy.

    Well, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.

    • #7
  8. Titus Techera Contributor
    Titus Techera
    @TitusTechera

    Sure. Conservatives should do something to call on candidates to drop out if all they’re doing is fragmenting the vote & making the choice or alternative less clear: Now, which institutions or venues have any influence & could do this? Who is committing to a stop Trump! stop the decline! position?

    • #8
  9. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    What does it take for Hillary to become President?  First, her husband has to get elected President, giving her a fame she never could have achieved on her own merits.  Then her only primary opponent is a senile hippy socialist.  (Even a first term black senator with a muslim name could beat her, but no – we get the socialist.)  And then the GOP commits suicide by picking a totally unqualified real estate developer over a field of very competent governors and senators.  This woman leads a charmed life.  It seems very Faustian to me.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Ion: the two ridelausibly-elected conservative candidates?

    I don’t remember seeing this interesting word before this hit the Main Feed. However, I must say that Google is impressive. In case it were some neologism with which I was not yet familiar, perhaps a portmanteau of “ridiculous” and “plausibly,” I searched for the word…and I got this conversation as the only hit. Still, I hope this is in the process of being fixed already.

    • #10
  11. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    There is no simple solution until we figure out what can slow Trump down. A Bush endorsement might hurt.    Cruz and Rubio and don’t forget Carly are all very smart articulate and more solid than Trump.   Have faith.  Keep working on Trump supporters you know and those who hate our three conservative candidates because they aren’t perfect.

    • #11
  12. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    If you were advocating a good portion of the field to actually throw themselves on swords I could get interested in that.

    • #12
  13. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Hey, Hoss!  Look-ah hyah!

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/rick-perry-endorses-ted-cruz-president/story?id=36497065

    “Of those individuals who have a chance to win the Republican primary, at this juncture, from my perspective, Ted Cruz is by far the most consistent conservative in that crowd,” Perry told Politico on Sunday night. “And that appears to be down to two people.”

    • #13
  14. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    IA and NH award their delegates proportionally, so even coming out of those with a win Trump still has less than 50% of the prize and no lock on the nomination. This race will go beyond the first few states. With NR taking a stand and other conservatives making a case that it’s time to get serious about the nomination it could sway some of Trump’s support toward more conservative candidates. There’s still always the possibility that Trump will finally say something outrageous enough to turn off his supporters.

    • #14
  15. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    The King Prawn:IA and NH award their delegates proportionally, so even coming out of those with a win Trump still has less than 50% of the prize and no lock on the nomination. This race will go beyond the first few states. With NR taking a stand and other conservatives making a case that it’s time to get serious about the nomination it could sway some of Trump’s support toward more conservative candidates. There’s still always the possibility that Trump will finally say something outrageous enough to turn off his supporters.

    Which he’s doing by attacking Cruz.  There’s a chance to pull away the largest chunk yet from his camp, but only in the Cruz direction.

    • #15
  16. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Ball Diamond Ball:

    The King Prawn:IA and NH award their delegates proportionally, so even coming out of those with a win Trump still has less than 50% of the prize and no lock on the nomination. This race will go beyond the first few states. With NR taking a stand and other conservatives making a case that it’s time to get serious about the nomination it could sway some of Trump’s support toward more conservative candidates. There’s still always the possibility that Trump will finally say something outrageous enough to turn off his supporters.

    Which he’s doing by attacking Cruz. There’s a chance to pull away the largest chunk yet from his camp, but only in the Cruz direction.

    I’m good with Cruz taking his supporters. He’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he at least clears the initial bar of being a conservative.

    • #16
  17. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    The first 24 states this time are proportional except for maybe one?  Why would you drop out before getting through a few of those.

    My guess is that Lindsay Graham backed Jeb! because he offered to pay off campaign debts which is a common reason.

    But yeah if your polling less than 5 percent like a number of candidates, its now just pure stubborness.

    • #17
  18. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Rick Perry speaking favorably of Ted Cruz is a big deal. Dewhurst was Perry’s hand picked LtG. There is also the Bush factor in contemporary Texas politics. Thanks for sharing that article.

    • #18
  19. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    BrentB67:Rick Perry speaking favorably of Ted Cruz is a big deal. Dewhurst was Perry’s hand picked LtG. There is also the Bush factor in contemporary Texas politics. Thanks for sharing that article.

    So when Jeb! crashes and burns officially it will be interesting to see who gets the loving gaze from W.

    • #19
  20. Redneck Desi Inactive
    Redneck Desi
    @RedneckDesi

    But I really wanted the chance to vote for Pataki!

    • #20
  21. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Funny timing: I just now got an e-mail from Perry announcing his endorsement of Cruz.

    But, yes, your headline is quite right. Tell the Donald to go bankrupt another business trying to sell gambling, booze and football to Americans.  Presidential material he’s not.

    • #21
  22. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    The King Prawn:

    BrentB67:Rick Perry speaking favorably of Ted Cruz is a big deal. Dewhurst was Perry’s hand picked LtG. There is also the Bush factor in contemporary Texas politics. Thanks for sharing that article.

    So when Jeb! crashes and burns officially it will be interesting to see who gets the loving gaze from W.

    I fear Jeb! will remain in the race even after pulling 5% or less in each of the first 3 states.
    .

    • #22
  23. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    I see that Rubio is campaigning today in Iowa with Joni “We’re gonna make ’em squeal!” Ernst.

    Whatever happened to her? The woman who MotherJones called “the tea party’s endgame” seems to have fallen off the face of the earth.

    Clearly, she didn’t take the Ted Cruz route of doubling down on her campaign platforms after she was elected.  Has she given up?  Sold out? Or is she just biding her time?  If so, for what?

    • #23
  24. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Shouldn’t a few primary votes actually happen before candidates are required to fall on their swords?

    • #24
  25. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Frank Soto:

    The King Prawn:

    BrentB67:Rick Perry speaking favorably of Ted Cruz is a big deal. Dewhurst was Perry’s hand picked LtG. There is also the Bush factor in contemporary Texas politics. Thanks for sharing that article.

    So when Jeb! crashes and burns officially it will be interesting to see who gets the loving gaze from W.

    I fear Jeb! will remain in the race even after pulling 5% or less in each of the first 3 states.

    It’s possible, but I think his magical money fountains have gone dry, and he’s burning through his stacks trying to take down Rubio of all people. Mike Murphy is an idiot.

    • #25
  26. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Do they trust the polls? That’s what it boils down to. Claire has written about her doubts in that regard.

    And especially in the case of Bush there might be pressure from major donors to consider. Even if he drops out of politics, I presume these are people with significant influence beyond campaign meetings.

    • #26
  27. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    ToryWarWriter: But yeah if your polling less than 5 percent like a number of candidates, its now just pure stubborness.

    Or…

    If they drop out now, that means their on-the-ground teams will not have had the experience of implementing a single GOTV effort. That would make them much less attractive to other candidates when they go looking for alternative employment.

    It might be better for a candidate to wait until their team has a bit more GOTV experience before dropping out. That way, they have one more bargaining chip when negotiating which candidate they will endorse.

    “If you scratch my back, I’ll drop out and send my team to your camp.”

    If the team is still wet-behind-the-ears, so to speak, that isn’t nearly as attractive an offer.

    Thanks to the fragmentation of the media, with each election I’m seeing the ground game becoming more and more important. Elections are won or lost based on the quantity and quality of a campaign’s “boots on the ground”.

    It remains to be seen if Trump’s campaign is all “air game” and little “ground game”.

    • #27
  28. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    The King Prawn:

    BrentB67:Rick Perry speaking favorably of Ted Cruz is a big deal. Dewhurst was Perry’s hand picked LtG. There is also the Bush factor in contemporary Texas politics. Thanks for sharing that article.

    So when Jeb! crashes and burns officially it will be interesting to see who gets the loving gaze from W.

    W has been very low profile in retirement. Outside of Jeb! I have a hard time imagining W being involved at all and doubt he would even make an appearance at the convention.

    • #28
  29. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Misthiocracy:Shouldn’t a few primary votes actually happen before candidates are required to fall on their swords?

    It is always a good time for political sword falling.

    That said, I agree with you. I don’t recall this much drama, etc. before a single vote is cast.

    • #29
  30. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    BrentB67:

    Misthiocracy:Shouldn’t a few primary votes actually happen before candidates are required to fall on their swords?

    It is always a good time for political sword falling.

    That said, I agree with you. I don’t recall this much drama, etc. before a single vote is cast.

    Indeed. If the primaries are the regular season and the general election is the playoffs, that means we’re still only in the pre-season.

    • #30

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