It Ain’t Over Yet: Part Two

 

Yesterday, the Republicans held a primary in Louisiana and caucused in Kansas, Kentucky, and Maine. Ted Cruz stomped Donald Trump in Kansas and defeated him handily in Maine. In Louisiana, he lost to Trump by 3.6 percent, and in Kentucky, Trump beat him by 4.3 percent. Marco Rubio came in a distant third everywhere but Maine, where John Kasich forced him into fourth.

What we have here in states where only Republicans can vote in the primary or caucus is a real horse race, and that, I believe, is what we are going to see down the line. In Rubio’s absence — and I suspect that he will soon be absent — Cruz may well snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Stay tuned!

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  1. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Hang On:

    Paul A. Rahe: I think that you are both wrong. Cruz may beat Trump; and, if Trump is the nominee, Kasich is far more apt than Cruz to be the Vice-Presidential nominee. Trump is not a conservative. If he is any kind of Republican at all, he is a New Deal Republican . . . which is precisely where Kasich fits. Their only disagreement would have to do with abortion, and Kasich strikes me as a flexible man.

    You certainly may be right, but if I’m Trump I would be asking myself what Kasich would bring? Trump has 3 or 4 things he has said he wants to do. That has resonated. Cruz is on a different resonance frequency that could potentially add. Kasich has no resonance. It’s about putting together a coalition that can win.

    What you say seems to make sense. But would it make sense to Trump. Is he prudent in the way you suppose? To pull this off, he would have to move towards the conservatives on a number of issues. Would his vanity allow that? I doubt it. And your analysis might not be right. A Trump-Kasich ticket might cut much more deeply into the disaffected Democratic vote than a Trump-Cruz ticket. And what about a Trump-Rubio ticket?

    Or let me play a wild card! What about a Trump-Jim Webb ticket?

    • #61
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I can’t predict who is going to win, but I wish it were Rubio.

    I can’t imagine why Trump went after him, then Christie, then Trump again.

    He has had a very difficult road to walk, and with the exception of sinking a little bit too far to Trump’s level at Thursday’s debate, he has met every attack on him head on and with grace.

    I love what he said at CPAC:

    Bash asked the Florida senator why so many conservatives seem to be voting for Trump, who he calls a fake conservative and a con artist. “I’ll tell you one of the reasons why – and I don’t mean to take you on this, but I want to be clear,” Rubio said. “Because I’ve now been sitting here for 5 minutes, and 2 out of the 3 questions have been about Donald Trump –” He tried to go on, but was drowned out by a massive standing ovation – undoubtedly the loudest crowd response any speaker received over the last three days.

    He is and will be a great man, someone who has been tested. That is the only thing I am certain of today.

    I feel like I’m watching some old World War II movie in which some young GI from the cornfields of Kansas meets up with the Germans and the kid from Kansas prevails, just because he is smarter and braver.

    Americans are so amazing.

    • #62
  3. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    BThompson:You don’t have to worry about me trashing him, no one outside of the base will be listening to the likes of me. Also, I’m not inventing a bogus attack, I’m observing who Cruz is with dispassionate eyes and pointing out reality. I’ll vote for Cruz, and weep as we blow another election and seal the disastrous legacy of Obama and the fate of our country.

    Welcome to Goldwater 2.0.

    There’s a lot of us in the Base that aren’t listening to you as well.

    • #63
  4. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    BThompson:

    Z in MT:BThompson, if Rubio is so great why isn’t he beating Ted?

    You could be right, we could have a repeat of 1964, which in that case won’t Rubio be ideal for a run in 2020?

    Because he has had way more competition in his lane and has gotten ten times the negative attacks aimed at him in the contested states so far. Tens of millions of dollars worth. Also, the early map has mostly been fought in states where evangelicals make up a majority of the GOP electorate. Cruz does disastrously with non-evangelicals which will become apparent going forward. Watch.

    Why didn’t he ‘change lanes’? Was he restricted in some way? Yes, we’re all aware that ‘Immigration isn’t an Issue with Voters’ (that’s sarcasm) – was there any other issue that America’s Sweetheart could have championed to victory or is that still to come?

    • #64
  5. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    BThompson: You can be in denial as to the strengths of Ted Cruz in the general election, but only if you don’t talk to average voters who don’t pay much attention to politics. They believe he is a smarmy, snake oil, televangelist, and the dems will make sure that image gets amplified

    Hmm . . .  for “average voters who don’t pay much attention to politics” they have—by your account—a very well-developed understanding of how Democrats and establishment Republicans caricature Ted Cruz.  So which is it?  They are average uninterested voters or they have dialed-in and absorbed the talking points of all the mainstream slicksters?

    • #65
  6. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    BThompson:

    katievs:I just don’t buy that “in the middle is where we win” thing. McCain and Romney were in the middle. They lost.

    Again, simplistic analysis. McCain had to bear the brunt of the financial meltdown a month before the election which was unfairly laid at the feet of Bush and the republicans.

    Romney had to overcome a historic incumbent. More importantly, he got defined as the plutocrat plunderer of the working class and ran an incompetent lackluster campaign. The idea that any of the other “real conservatives” would have fared better than Romney is wishful thinking.

    Ah yes, simplistic because you didn’t make it. What are we all thinking that have not supported/will support Marco Rubio.

    • #66
  7. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    BThompson:

    Skarv:On Cruz electability. This is anecdotal but still.

    A few months ago (September 2015), I worked (in an IT company) together with a city counsel woman. She was very D and loud about her liberal opinions. To her credit she saw the weaknesses in Hillary and expressed her hope that Republicans would pick a weak contender. At that point in time Trump was not inevitable and he was her hope as she saw him as a joke. She was quite dismissive of all the Republicans except Cruz who she considered both electable and “dangerous”. Cruz was clearly the only one she really feared.

    Yes, that is anecdotal. Very anecdotal.

    Rubio voters are getting to be anecdotal as well.

    • #67
  8. Koolie Inactive
    Koolie
    @Koolie

    BThompson:

    Songwriter:

    BThompson:

    The sparkle of Rubio will only make Ted look more lackluster. That is why Rubio would be a bad VP choice, everyone would think the bottom of the ticket was stronger than the top.

    That was the case for me with Romney/Ryan.

    It would be ten times worse with Cruz/Rubio. Cruz less likable than Mitt, Rubio more likable and charismatic than Ryan.

    Rubio is so likable and charismatic that Republican primary voters are rejecting him outright. Perhaps it’s time to take your dispassionate eyes to a dispassionate optometrist?

    • #68
  9. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Prof. Rahe, the majority of Cruz voters like Rubio just fine, they just prefer Ted. But going forward, there are less of those Cruz voters.

    • #69
  10. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I think one thing we should all be amazed at is the head-to-head match-up polls against Hillary. All of the republican nominees with the general exception of Trump beat Hillary. This is amazing. At this stage in the game, these head-to-head polls generally reflect name recognition. What it says is that the general electorate is does not want to elect Hillary. She is a deeply flawed candidate.

    • #70
  11. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Paul A. Rahe: Rubio is losing because he tossed off the conservative bona fides that he possessed after beating Charlie Crist in 2010. The voters see him as another Kasich, and not many of them want that.

    Or you can believe BT, who has a seemingly endless list of ‘others’ to blame for Rubio’s one unpardonable political sin: he lied to and then betrayed his constituents on a topic about which they feel great passion.

    Trust. It’s a terrible thing to waste and an impossible thing to recover.

    • #71
  12. Koolie Inactive
    Koolie
    @Koolie

    BThompson:

    katievs:

    BThompson:You don’t have to worry about me trashing him, no one outside of the base will be listening to the likes of me.

    Am I to take that as a yes? You’ll trash him and spread doom and gloom on the grounds that no one will listen to you?

    I sort of think this is a moment for all sensible Americans, never mind Republicans and conservatives, to rally around someone who, though he may not have been our personal favorite, nevertheless has the makings of a great President—someone with brains and guts and principles. Someone far more conservative than any candidate we’ve had on offer since Reagan.

    What we write and say in our echo chambers isn’t what sways the middle where the fight is won. The quality of the candidate, the media narratives of the MSM, and the memes on social media do.

    There are 2 songs I hear every 4 years on the Republican side–the Mike Murphy-Drive-by ditty and the Song of the Eightes. Personally, I have always liked Eighties music better.

    • #72
  13. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    BThompson:Prof. Rahe, the majority of Cruz voters like Rubio just fine, they just prefer Ted. But going forward, there are less of those Cruz voters.

    I disagree. While a majority of Cruz voters would go to Rubio, you would have a lot more Cruz voters going to Trump than you would have Rubio voters going to Trump.

    I get it. Cruz rubs some people the wrong way. You are apparently one of those people.

    • #73
  14. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    “Rubio is so likable and charismatic that Republican primary voters are rejecting him outright. Perhaps it’s time to take your dispassionate eyes to a dispassionate optometrist?”

    This is silly. First, only just over a third of GOP voters have cast ballots. Secondly, of those who have voted, Rubio has gotten the same amount of votes as Cruz, except for the state of Texas, Cruz’s home state. If the people who cast votes for the candidates that left were allowed to vote again with their second choice, I’m sure Rubio would garner many more votes than Cruz. Lastly, whether Cruz can compete with Rubios likability and charisma among GOP primary voters has very little to do with who would seem most appealing to the general electorate.

    • #74
  15. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    “I disagree. While a majority of Cruz voters would go to Rubio, you would have a lot more Cruz voters going to Trump than you would have Rubio voters going to Trump.”

    The polls I’ve seen about second choice preferences indicate you’re wrong. Cruz would do better as second choice with Rubios voters than Rubio does as second choice for Cruz supporters, but each gets a majority of the others votes as the alternative.

    • #75
  16. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Z in MT:I get it. Cruz rubs some people the wrong way. You are apparently one of those people.

    The thing is Rubio’s fan club thinks that only Cruz’s negatives would stick once the Clinton machine goes into action.  They want us to believe Rubio will somehow be immune to Clinton’s attacks, but they’ve absolutely nothing to back that claim.

    The truth is no one knows and no one will know until November, when Cruz beats Hillary 52.3 to 47.7.

    You heard it here first, folks!  [:-)

    • #76
  17. Koolie Inactive
    Koolie
    @Koolie

    BThompson:

    Z in MT:BThompson, if Rubio is so great why isn’t he beating Ted?

    You could be right, we could have a repeat of 1964, which in that case won’t Rubio be ideal for a run in 2020?

    Because he has had way more competition in his lane and has gotten ten times the negative attacks aimed at him in the contested states so far. Tens of millions of dollars worth. Also, the early map has mostly been fought in states where evangelicals make up a majority of the GOP electorate. Cruz does disastrously with non-evangelicals which will become apparent going forward. Watch.

    I know, poor Marco, and the Republican Establishment  hates him so. Fox News hates him so, Nikki Haley hates him so, and that dunderhead, Trump, has been slandering him since Iowa calling him a liar, impugning his credentials to run;  and creepy Cruz said Marco lies all time, said Marco just makes things up; and creepy Cruz lied about lovable Marco supporting Gang 8, supporting ethanol subsidies, telling Univision Marco wouldn’t end DACA on Day One. Outrageous.

    It’s tough loving Marco with dispassionate eyes.

    • #77
  18. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    “Or you can believe BT, who has a seemingly endless list of ‘others’ to blame for Rubio’s one unpardonable political sin: he lied to and then betrayed his constituents on a topic about which they feel great passion.

    Trust. It’s a terrible thing to waste and an impossible thing to recover.”

    This is brilliant except for two things, Trump has been exposed as a far, far bigger liar and flipper compared to Rubio, including on immigration and trade, but these Trump voters stick with him. Second, exit polls consistently show Rubio is viewed as more trustworthy than both Trump and Cruz.

    • #78
  19. katievs Inactive
    katievs
    @katievs

    BThompson:Prof. Rahe, the majority of Cruz voters like Rubio just fine, they just prefer Ted. But going forward, there are less of those Cruz voters.

    We were told after Super Tuesday that it was all downhill for Ted. His best states were behind him. Then he crushed Trump and Rubio in KS and ME, and came close to winning in LA and KY.

    Elections are dynamic. Personally, I used to think Cruz’ “affect and mien” (in Douthat’s phrase) were too off-putting. Now I think his strengths as a candidate far outweigh such superficial considerations. Listen to his CPAC speech. Listen to his interactions yesterday with the voters in Idaho. He is incredibly knowledgeable and quick on his feet.

    Also, he seems to have caught Rubio’s cold, which brings out his natural personality and shows it to be remarkably likable and relatable.

    I think we’re going to win.

    • #79
  20. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    BThompson:

    katievs:

    Freesmith:Go back to the Biltmore Hotel where Jeb is already poolside, Marco – the fat lady is singing.

    A temporary gig on Univision awaits.

    No, no, no! We want him on the team! He can do a lot of good with his great rhetorical powers. Help soften Ted’s hard edges.

    The sparkle of Rubio will only make Ted look more lackluster. That is why Rubio would be a bad VP choice, everyone would think the bottom of the ticket was stronger than the top.

    If I remember correctly, Palin was more vivid and brighter than the Maverick.  Even she, as formidable as she was then, wasn’t sufficiently formidable to keep Maverick from losing.

    • #80
  21. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    BThompson:

    Songwriter:

    BThompson:

    The sparkle of Rubio will only make Ted look more lackluster. That is why Rubio would be a bad VP choice, everyone would think the bottom of the ticket was stronger than the top.

    That was the case for me with Romney/Ryan.

    It would be ten times worse with Cruz/Rubio. Cruz less likable than Mitt, Rubio more likable and charismatic than Ryan.

    Whatever one thinks of Rubio, he is not catching on.  His charisma must have “use by” date.

    Should one compare Mitt with Cruz, well Mitt wasn’t great shakes either.  One a technocrat, the other a scold.

    • #81
  22. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    In 2008 the Democratic primaries had a slew of candidates of varying backgrounds and skills – including the VP nominee from 2004 – and one recognized, indisputable front-runner. There were many issues, but the one that overrode all others was opposition to the Iraq War. The eventual winner, a long-shot when the campaign began, was the candidate with the strongest bona fides as anti-Iraq War.

    Similarly in 2016 immigration ranks as the dominant issue in the GOP primaries. It is what motivates the largest elements of the Republican base. Slowing immigration has provided ballast for a totally unexpected candidate while capsizing some formerly impressive candidates if they are on the wrong side of this powerful political current. One simply cannot row against it, anymore than one could be seen in 2008 Democratic circles as being for the Iraq War.

    Deny it all you want, but

    RIP Jeb!

    RIP Marco

    • #82
  23. Koolie Inactive
    Koolie
    @Koolie

    BThompson:“Rubio is so likable and charismatic that Republican primary voters are rejecting him outright. Perhaps it’s time to take your dispassionate eyes to a dispassionate optometrist?”

    This is silly. First, only just over a third of GOP voters have cast ballots. ….If the people who cast votes for the candidates that left were allowed to vote again with their second choice, I’m sure Rubio would garner many more votes than Cruz. Lastly, whether Cruz can compete with Rubios likability and charisma among GOP primary voters has very little to do with who would seem most appealing to the general electorate.

    I know, it’s so silly, just 1/3 have cast votes, and Marco has done so poorly he’s about to drop out.

    I know, dispassionate eyes tell me Rubio wins second choice votes over Cruz hands down.

    I know, the Drive-bys have fed me again and again purists like Cruz can’t win in the general. It’s just impossible and they keep giving us one constitutional conservative after another. These conservatives are so narrow, unlikable. Just ask Mike Murphy, he knows, he’s won so many presidencies for us.

    It’s so exasperating.

    • #83
  24. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    BThompson:“Or you can believe BT, who has a seemingly endless list of ‘others’ to blame for Rubio’s one unpardonable political sin: he lied to and then betrayed his constituents on a topic about which they feel great passion.

    Trust. It’s a terrible thing to waste and an impossible thing to recover.”

    This is brilliant except for two things, Trump has been exposed as a far, far bigger liar and flipper compared to Rubio, including on immigration and trade, but these Trump voters stick with him. Second, exit polls consistently show Rubio is viewed as more trustworthy than both Trump and Cruz.

    Yes, you’ve just proved that Trump voters are different from other voters.  News flash.  Here’s another one:  Trump has no constituents . . . never been elected to anything.  Oddly enough, voters are able to discern subtle differences like that . . . especially in Florida, where there’s soon to be a rather important primary.

    Also, did you happen to see the results from yesterday’s voting?   Trump is now starting to pay the price for … well, for being Trump.

    Finally, your faith in exit polls taken during primaries is . . . remarkable (and I’ll just assume you are accurately portraying them b/c I wouldn’t waste a minute reading one).  They have zero significance for the vote in November.

    • #84
  25. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Freesmith:Similarly in 2016 immigration ranks as the dominant issue in the GOP primaries. It is what motivates the largest elements of the Republican base.

    Perhaps, but it seems more likely that lack of knowledge of immigration positions is what motivates large elements of the base.

    • #85
  26. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    donald todd: Should one compare Mitt with Cruz, well Mitt wasn’t great shakes either. One a technocrat, the other a scold.

    All that typical voters will compare is the two nominees.  So if you want to do historical comparisons, the relevant match-ups are Mitt-Barack and Ted-Hillary.  It’s what the world looks like through that narrow, two-person, Ted-Hillary lens that matters in November.

    • #86
  27. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    BThompson:

    Cruz will wilt as well once the democrats start demonizing him. Ted’s unlikeable persona and lawyerly, calculating style will make the Democrat’s job easy.

    As opposed to the warm and charming Hillary?

    • #87
  28. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Del Mar Dave:To paraphrase Stan Evans, we have 2 parties, the Evil Party and the Stupid Party. The Stupid Party is on its way again to seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

    I’d still rather be stupid than evil.

    • #88
  29. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    I must say that I have trouble seeing as far as November. Who wins will depend on what the nominees of the two parties look like at that moment. If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, her warts (which are enormous) will be visible, and I suspect that she will appear to be old, halting, and at times confused.

    If Trump is the nominee, the media will unload on him bigtime, and the problem is that most of the awful things that they will say will be true. Rubio and Cruz have much less baggage. The latter does not have the former’s charm. That may matter, but it may not. He does have gravitas — more than Rubio — and he is younger and far more nimble than Hillary.

    Let’s face it. This is not a year that is easy to predict. How many of you foresaw the Trump phenomenon? I certainly did not. Nor could I have imagined the popularity of Bernie Sanders.

    We can guess at what will happen in November. But we know very little. My guess is that if Cruz can edge out Trump he can win, and I would say the same for Rubio. Cruz’ lack of likeability is a defect; Rubio’s boyishness may be a defect as well.

    • #89
  30. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Susan Quinn:

    Paul A. Rahe: If he is so electable, what did he do to alienate the Republican electorate in his own state? I think that he brought this on himself.

    From what I understand, Paul, I think the Tea Party felt betrayed by Rubio. Also, we were never completely satisfied about his credit card use “mistake.” Plus, he lacked dignity in the way he attacked Trump.

    The weekend of Trump attacks and Twitterpalooza did him no favors. He didn’t look presidential no matter how legitimate the criticism of Trump was.

    Running around stage reading someone else’s tweets looks like 8th grade, not the Republican primary.

    • #90
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