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. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Petty Boozswha:Recap of lost post:

    Kasich’s digression was at CPAC.

    Kasich tried to tame the public employee unions, Scott Walker learned from him and became the conservative hero on that issue.

    Kasich’s management style is lightyears ahead of Cruz, who has been exiled to make work out-of-the-way assignments his entire professional career. No body likes this guy, a handicap in a political career.

    And yet Cruz has 300 Delegates and Kasich has 35. Ain’t politics crazy?

    • #121
  2. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Benjamin Glaser:I love the line “Cruz can’t win outside the Deep South”, when the reality is not a single one of his victories (Alaska, Texas, Kansas, Iowa, Maine, and Oklahoma) have come from a state in the Deep South.

    He’s won in the West, Midwest, Far North, and Northeast.

    On the contrary, it is Trump who can’t win in the upper Midwest and Northwest.

    • #122
  3. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Paul A. Rahe:

    Petty Boozswha:Recap of lost post:

    Kasich’s digression was at CPAC.

    Kasich tried to tame the public employee unions, Scott Walker learned from him and became the conservative hero on that issue.

    Kasich’s management style is lightyears ahead of Cruz, who has been exiled to make work out-of-the-way assignments his entire professional career. No body likes this guy, a handicap in a political career.

    Kasich embraced Obamacare. He embraced the expansion of Medicaid. How is he these days different from a Democrat?

    If you regard that as disqualifying – like Christie’s hug of Obama – there is nothing I can do to change your mind. Kasich works in the real world, not the airy fairy theoretical world of political ideologues. And I dispute that he embraced the whole of Obamacare – he accepted the Medicaid component that every single Repub plan to repeal and replace maintains.

    • #123
  4. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    BThompson: You have no clue whether Rubio would get elected if he ran for senate again.

    I know this: he regrets the hell out of placing all his chips on President!  Or maybe not . . . since he wan’t going to get reelected to the Senate regardless!

    • #124
  5. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    HVTs:

    Having the right VP candidate can matter (at the margins), but gender will not matter enough to matter—if that makes sense. Said another way, the right male candidate is far more useful to winning than a woman candidate just because she’s a women. Voters are more sophisticated and nuanced about identity-candidates than the Democrats want to believe—they have Obama to thank for that.

    Yes, but I’m hoping the nominee is more sophisticated than to pick a woman solely because she’s a woman.  There are more than a few possibilities who appear to be just as “right” as potential men that I can think of.  And, again, the opposition’s campaign will be based on gender, with at least some younger and professional female voters unmoved by Hillary who will be approachable by a “balanced” ticket.

    My apologies if we’re talking past one another on this.  I’m certainly not denying that the nominee is far and away the most important consideration, but I see no reason not to cover bases if it can be done with a qualified female that is the equal of any male possibility.

    • #125
  6. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    HVTs:

    I know this: he regrets the hell out of placing all his chips on President! Or maybe not . . . since he wan’t going to get reelected to the Senate regardless!

    I doubt he regrets that at all. I suspect he has plans to either run for governor of Florida to bolster his resumé or he will do something else entirely and get out of politics. I don’t think Rubio wanted to be a legislator long term.

    I do bet he regrets going along with leadership and Reince Priebus following the 2012 election, but that just shows why it’s hard to win the presidency from the senate. Having to make deals and take tough votes makes life tricky.

    That is why Cruz is making his run now, before he builds up an actual record, just like Obama. It’s also why he made a point of not actually trying to govern while he was there. He made a calculated play and put on a caricatured persona. To his credit, it is working so far. He will likely come to discover that he is not as clever as he thinks, though. Or that he’s been too clever half.

    • #126
  7. John Seymour Member
    John Seymour
    @

    Paul A. Rahe:When I read what BThompson says about Cruz, I think back to what nearly everyone — except the supposed maniacs on the right — said in 1976 and again in 1980 about Reagan. I will confess that Reagan was more likeable than is Cruz. But his unelectability was the theme, and we were urged time and again to choose yet another New Deal Republican. Jerry Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney — all decent men. None of them genuinely conservative. All of them lost. As for Rubio, at this point, it looks as if he will be creamed in his own state. 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.

    If Rubio loses Florida as seems likely today he really has no excuse to stay in the race any longer.  I agree with Cruz on nearly all the issues, but he scares me, or I should say his ego scares me.  But not as much as Trump who I don’t believe is a conservative of any stripe.  And Cruz seems to take his constitutionalism seriously, which is comforting.

    Finally, Cruz opposed ethanol subsidies in Iowa, and won.  Gotta respect the guy for that.

    • #127
  8. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    This supports my point that Trump is a Dem stalking horse.   Trump only wins open primary states.  He wins most of them.  Dem turnout in Texas and MA was down; Repub was up.  In both (and many other) cases, Dems by the dozen are crossing over to vote for the Trumpster.  They don’t have the nation’s best interests at heart; this is a movement for Hil-liar-y.

    • #128
  9. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Hoyacon:

    HVTs:

    Having the right VP candidate can matter (at the margins), but gender will not matter enough to matter—if that makes sense.

    … the opposition’s campaign will be based on gender, with at least some younger and professional female voters unmoved by Hillary who will be approachable by a “balanced” ticket.

    That demographic is so small it’s irrelevant. Where it does exist, it’s not going to determine whether that state goes Red or Blue . . . it will already be going Red or Blue regardless of what that demographic does or does not do.

    The other way to describe young, professional women who are unmoved by Hillary is “Hillary voter.”  They have to be moved in the GOP direction to be a non-Hillary voter.  Young, professional women who are moved by the GOP candidate might vote Hillary ‘cuz of gender.  That’s 100 times more likely then your demo voting Red ‘cuz of the VP’s gender.

    • #129
  10. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    BThompson: I don’t think Rubio wanted to be a legislator long term.

    I don’t either.  What he wants is to be in power.  The more, the better. He is no different than 95% of politicians.  The other 5% care more about principles than power, but also understand you can’t do much about the former without the latter. That’s the ultimate political balancing act—gaining power in a principled manner and using that power in a principled way.  It’s very, very rare.  At the Presidential level, it’s a less-than once-per-lifetime phenomenon for most people.

    • #130
  11. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    BThompson:

    Paul A. Rahe:

    When I read what you write I think of what was written about electability in 1976 and 1980. That, too, was a moment of profound discontent.

    You are very correct. But I’m also correct in noting that Ted Cruz is no Ronald Reagan. Not even close.

    Let me repeat something. Marco Rubio was swept into office in 2010 by the very folks who seem disinclined to vote for him now. Electable? If he were running for the Senate in Florida, he would not be electable.

    And what will you say if he wins his state on 3/15? Your assessment of his appeal in Florida is based on a few polls that preceded any serious campaign attacks or a real vetting of Donald Trump in the media. You have no clue whether Rubio would get elected if he ran for senate again. You are turning your bias into unfounded factual claims, you did that in 2012 as well.

    Here is something to ponder. Had Mitt Romney been able to turn out the people that Donald Trump is turning out today, he would have been president in 2012. I just read that, in Florida, most of the early voters for the upcoming primary are people who did not vote in 2012.

    Yes, but those people don’t want conservatism, they want tariffs, labor protections, mass deportation no candidate is actually proposing, and believe 9/11 was an inside job. They aren’t going to save the GOP.

    Actually, I do have a clue (but not more than a clue). The people I know in Florida tell me that Marco burned his bridges and that he would not stand a chance — which may be why he is not in the race.

    • #131
  12. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Petty Boozswha:

    Paul A. Rahe:

    Petty Boozswha:Recap of lost post:

    Kasich’s digression was at CPAC.

    Kasich tried to tame the public employee unions, Scott Walker learned from him and became the conservative hero on that issue.

    Kasich’s management style is lightyears ahead of Cruz, who has been exiled to make work out-of-the-way assignments his entire professional career. No body likes this guy, a handicap in a political career.

    Kasich embraced Obamacare. He embraced the expansion of Medicaid. How is he these days different from a Democrat?

    If you regard that as disqualifying – like Christie’s hug of Obama – there is nothing I can do to change your mind. Kasich works in the real world, not the airy fairy theoretical world of political ideologues. And I dispute that he embraced the whole of Obamacare – he accepted the Medicaid component that every single Repub plan to repeal and replace maintains.

    Yes, I do regard it as disqualifying. When I am damaged by the enemy, I accept it. When I am betrayed by supposed friends, I do not like it at all. The Republican Party is the party of betrayal, and a lot of people know it. Thus, Trump!

    • #132
  13. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    HVTs:

    BThompson: I don’t think Rubio wanted to be a legislator long term.

    I don’t either. What he wants is to be in power. The more, the better. He is no different than 95% of politicians. The other 5% care more about principles than power, but also understand you can’t do much about the former without the latter. That’s the ultimate political balancing act—gaining power in a principled manner and using that power in a principled way. It’s very, very rare. At the Presidential level, it’s a less-than once-per-lifetime phenomenon for most people.

    I think that Rubio may be better than you say. Like Cruz, he entered the Senate with his eyes on the Presidency. He hired a staff with that in mind, and he blundered in accepting their advice that he triangulate and muddy his conservative reputation.

    Cruz, who has more (and perhaps too much) confidence in his own judgment, did the opposite.

    Both are, I believe, actually eager to do something highly significant that will turn us in the right direction. Bush and Kasich are peas in a pod — satisfied with being New Deal Republicans, eager to extend the welfare state and the administrative state.

    • #133
  14. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Paul A. Rahe: Actually, I do have a clue (but not more than a clue). The people I know in Florida tell me that Marco burned his bridges and that he would not stand a chance — which may be why he is not in the race.

    With respect, Professor, you are trying to persuade a fanatic (or Fan Addict, perhaps).  Not that there’s anything wrong with BT’s passion for Candidate Rubio.  I’d be doing Cheetah-flips for Rubio if he had not revealed himself to be unprincipled and blinded by out-sized ambition.  Not that ambition is a problem . . . can’t run for President without buckets of it.  But blind ambition is unappealing to most voters.  If after his immigration fiasco he’d fessed up, shown contrition, acted humble and sought redemption, I think he’d be doing better in the polls.  He didn’t.  Now it’s too late.  Might make an OK governor, but it’s Florida . . . who knows what that sun does to people’s brains?  Charlie Crist.  Jeb!  Rick Scott.  I rest my case.

    • #134
  15. Dan Hanson Thatcher
    Dan Hanson
    @DanHanson

    I wonder if Cruz could deflect a lot of the criticism from the establishment by creating a unity ticket – one that would also mollify the moderates while leaving conservatives firmly in control.

    Ted Cruz – President
    Marco Rubio – Vice President
    John Kasich. – Budget Director
    Mitt Romney – Secretary of State
    Jim Webb. – Secretary of Defense (to forestall a Webb third party run and peel off moderate dems)
    Bobby Jindal – Commerce Secretary

    And to get the important Ricochet vote, John Yoo for Attorney General. (:

    At a contested convention, having a lineup of non-scary, competent people like that behind him would go a long way towards re-unifying the party. That would also be an awesome cabinet.

    • #135
  16. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Dan Hanson:I wonder if Cruz could deflect a lot of the criticism from the establishment by creating a unity ticket – one that would also mollify the moderates while leaving conservatives firmly in control.

    Ted Cruz – President
    Marco Rubio – Vice President
    John Kasich. – Budget Director
    Mitt Romney – Secretary of State
    Jim Webb. – Secretary of Defense (to forestall a Webb third party run and peel off moderate dems)
    Bobby Jindal – Commerce Secretary

    And to get the important Ricochet vote, John Yoo for Attorney General. (:

    At a contested convention, having a lineup of non-scary, competent people like that behind him would go a long way towards re-unifying the party. That would also be an awesome cabinet.

    It might be wise to draw in Donald Trump by offering his something . . . Commerce, perhaps.

    • #136
  17. Carol Member
    Carol
    @

    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.

    I think at this point the fact that Rubio has won only one of 18 contests makes it hard to argue that. Even Republican primary voters aren’t seeing the sparkle.

    • #137
  18. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Mr. Rahe,

    I have philosophically opposed the mortgage interest deduction in the tax code my entire life; but I have used it every year since I was 29 years old. Is that a form of betrayal? Kasich has made assistance to the mentally ill a centerpiece of his campaign [I concede it is a RINO issue.] He has determined that using these funds could help thousands of people. Since I have a son that suffers from schizophrenia I have more than the usual bias, I’ve seen that there is more in heaven and earth than is contemplated by libertarian theory.

    • #138
  19. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Paul A. Rahe: I think that Rubio may be better than you say. Like Cruz, he entered the Senate with his eyes on the Presidency. He hired a staff with that in mind, and he blundered in accepting their advice that he triangulate and muddy his conservative reputation.

    Well, first off, I only really said he’s not in the top 5% . . . that’s not exactly a slam. [:-)

    But you are being way too generous with Mr. Rubio.  He was not a political neophyte after his long tenure in Tallahassee.  The ‘trusted my advisors’ shtick simply will not fly.  The ‘no amnesty, build the wall first’ pledge was a cornerstone of his Senate campaign.  He abandoned it practically on Day One.  It was so blatant, and that’s compounded by his endless lying about it.  Which continues to this day!  He thought he’d quickly become the unassailable 2016 establishment pick by cozying up to Schumer, McCain, etc.

    He made this bed and well deserves to remain upon it.

    • #139
  20. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Paul A. Rahe: It might be wise to draw in Donald Trump by offering his something . . . Commerce, perhaps.

    Ambassador to Russia.  [:-)

    • #140
  21. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    HVTs:

    Paul A. Rahe: I think that Rubio may be better than you say. Like Cruz, he entered the Senate with his eyes on the Presidency. He hired a staff with that in mind, and he blundered in accepting their advice that he triangulate and muddy his conservative reputation.

    Well, first off, I only really said he’s not in the top 5% . . . that’s not exactly a slam. [:-)

    But you are being way too generous with Mr. Rubio. He was not a political neophyte after his long tenure in Tallahassee. The ‘trusted my advisors’ shtick simply will not fly. The ‘no amnesty, build the wall first’ pledge was a cornerstone of his Senate campaign. He abandoned it practically on Day One. It was so blatant, and that’s compounded by his endless lying about it. Which continues to this day! He thought he’d quickly become the unassailable 2016 establishment pick by cozying up to Schumer, McCain, etc.

    He made this bed and well deserves to remain upon it.

    I agree with most of this. It was a calculation. But my bet is that it came from his staff. You will reply (and correctly) that he hired them, and he did. He thought that this was the moment to blur his conservative image. It was a bad bet — a very bad bet.

    On other issues, however, he stuck with the conservatives. I do not begrudge him the calculation and the maneuvering. One may have to do such things to win. My criticism is that it was worse than a crime: it was a blunder.

    Cruz has made no such blunders . . . so far.

    • #141
  22. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    HVTs:

    That demographic is so small it’s irrelevant. Where it does exist, it’s not going to determine whether that state goes Red or Blue . . . it will already be going Red or Blue regardless of what that demographic does or does not do.

    We’ll agree to disagree on the all of the above.  We’re in the land of opinion and speculation, which isn’t likely to be resolved.  Let’s see what happens.

    • #142
  23. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Here, by the way, are Rubio’s percentages on Saturday:

    Louisiana: 11.2%

    Kentucky: 16.4%

    Kansas: 16.7%

    Maine: 8%

    The clock is ticking. It is tolerably late in the game. These numbers are not good.

    Here are Cruz’ percentages:

    Louisiana: 37.8%

    Kentucky: 31.6%

    Kansas: 48.2%

    Maine: 45.9%

    Even where he lost, he is in the game, and these states are a tolerably good cross-section of the USA. Only the West is out of the picture.

    • #143
  24. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Cruz’s numbers would look even better if you could break out early voting totals before the last week meltdown and voting day totals. Rubio really hurt himself with his kamikaze attack in the last few days – I think he hurt himself beyond repair this cycle.

    • #144
  25. Carol Member
    Carol
    @

    BThompson: Second, exit polls consistently show Rubio is viewed as more trustworthy than both Trump and Cruz.

    So they think he is more trustworthy but they didn’t vote for him?

    • #145
  26. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Petty Boozswha:Cruz’s numbers would look even better if you could break out early voting totals before the last week meltdown and voting day totals. Rubio really hurt himself with his kamikaze attack in the last few days – I think he hurt himself beyond repair this cycle.

    Can you provide those numbers? I would love to know whether this is true.

    • #146
  27. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    I do know same day voting in Louisiana was 41% Trump; 41% Cruz. Don’t have any other figures.

    • #147
  28. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    Dan Hanson:Ted Cruz – President
    Marco Rubio – Vice President
    John Kasich. – Budget Director
    Mitt Romney – Secretary of State
    Jim Webb. – Secretary of Defense (to forestall a Webb third party run and peel off moderate dems)
    Bobby Jindal – Commerce Secretary

    That’s the wrong VP pick, and not just ‘cuz I don’t like Rubio.  If I was Cruz I’d pick Kasich and announce he’s going to be the administration’s point man for all things having to do with Congress.  Kasich knows how the Hill works and he’s a mushy middler—perfect for Hill rats!  (And we pray for Cruz’ continued good health!)

    Amb. Bolton at State.  Not negotiable.

    Keep Ash Carter at DoD.  Perfect bi-partisan symbolism but Carter will quickly hew to the Cruz line.

    Rubio for DNI — it’s cabinet level and let’s him build national security cred, but there’s not much damage he can do there.  Magnanimous choice by Cruz.

    Personally love Jindal for Commerce, but I think he endorsed Rubio so he’s in the wilderness.  Trump gets Commerce instead . . . let him do trade deals.  He’ll get bored and be out by the mid-term elections. He’s ADD — don’t have to worry about him once the camera’s are gone.

    Fiorina for Treasury.

    Christie — who?

    Jeb! gets an Ambassadorship – Saudi Arabia perhaps. Or UK.

    Mitt gets Ambassador to Japan – traditional holding place for failed nominees.  He’ll probably decline it. I would if I had his bank account.

    • #148
  29. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Petty Boozswha:Rubio really hurt himself with his kamikaze attack in the last few days – I think he hurt himself beyond repair this cycle.

    Yeah, I think this has gone underappreciated here. Rubio took one for the team and it has cost him. Much the way Christie injured Rubio but didn’t get the benefit, Rubio damaged Trump but the benefit accrued to Cruz and Kasich.

    Bush and Cruz had been trying to attack Trump, but it wasn’t really slowing Trump down. It wasn’t until Rubio drew blood and stole the media narrative from Trump that the attacks started making a difference.

    Maybe if Rubio had toned down the more crass, childish taunts he would could have still been effective and kept his image intact. But he likely wouldn’t have gotten under Trump’s skin as much or made the press to sit up and take notice. It was a risky tactic, that only half worked.

    That said, Rubio won Puerto Rico with 74% of the vote and took all 23 delegates today, so that is something. It will be interesting to see if he can make a respectable showing on 3/8, then have a strong, positive debate on 3/10. If so, he can probably turn the narrative from Saturday around somewhat and potentially win Florida.

    • #149
  30. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Today Puerto Rico, tomorrow the world!

    • #150
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