After 3-2-1, The Great Expectations Game and ‘delegates are all that matter,’ came disappointment after crushing disappointment for the Rubio campaign. Coming off a string of losses (during which his participation arguably ensured Trump’s continuing delegate lead), Rubio had a clear path to ensuring that #NeverTrump became a reality.
Rather than become a party hero, Marco pushed forward and said he was laying everything on the line in Florida. However, with hours left until the polls close, he says his campaign will continue, regardless of the Florida outcome.
For the last weeks, my suspicion has been that while much of the #NeverTrump movement was genuine, a significant plurality was #NeverCruz in a disguise. Rubio is proving this case.
Pro-Rubio forces (and Kasich’s for that matter) have been beating the brokered convention drum for weeks. Erick Erickson has detailed the folly of that path at length. If their hope was purely #NeverTrump, they would drop out and support Ted Cruz. He’s the only one with any chance of beating Trump to 1237 delegates or taking the delegate lead at any point.
Tomorrow morning, Kasich and Rubio will both likely need greater than 100% of the remaining delegates in order to secure the nomination without a contested convention. Cruz will need 70-77% and Trump will need 50-55%.
Performance over the past few weeks has shown us, in proportional and hybrid delegate allocation states, that the presence of Rubio and Kasich has given trump more than 75 delegates. If not for their contribution, Cruz would currently be the delegate leader. Given the map moving forward, the greatest probability is not of a convention but that Trump is nominated outright. So what is their strategy?
If Rubio and Kasich stay in past tomorrow, they are working toward two goals: 1. Ensure a contested convention. 2. Drag down Ted Cruz as much as possible. The idea that Cruz could win the nomination outright or be ahead of Trump in delegates is anathema to both the Rubio and Kasich camps.
Given the anti-party, anti-establishment mood within the GOP electorate, the perception of a stolen election would do much to ensure an irreversible schism within the party and hand the White House to Hillary.
In the end, they’re gambling with the future of our party and country. They are willing to risk an outright Trump win, or giving him an incredible delegate lead in order to further their own political goals. That exercise would be one of vanity, not statesmanship.