For much of the presidential campaign, it has seemed that one of Marco’s best strategic assets was that he had nothing to lose. He wasn’t running for re-election in the Senate and began talking about open-convention strategy almost immediately. He’d burnt his ships on the beach.
Over the last few weeks, as he’s consistently fallen short of vote goals, debate performance and fundraising, it’s become clear that while losing his bid for the presidency isn’t a career ender for Marco, losing in the wrong way could become one.
Three scenarios present themselves for consideration.
- Rubio prosecutes the campaign with a serious eye towards an open-convention. Erick has discussed the folly of this strategy at length. The chances of a positive end result of this plan for Marco, let alone our nation or party, is slim to none. What’s much more likely is that it allows Trump to reach a delegate majority months before the convention.
- After losing Florida, Marco concedes. In a last ditch effort to prove viability, Rubio stays in for March 15th, when nearly 300 delegates are at stake. If he wins, he’s still behind both Ted and Donald in the delegate count. If he loses, which is increasingly likely, his division of the vote gives at least 200 of the day’s delegates to Trump. In the process, Marco will have burnt his opportunity for party unity, a potential VP selection and the resurrection of his reputation within the conservative wing of the GOP.
- Marco makes good on his #NeverTrump promise by backing Ted Cruz prior to March 15. As a Cruz supporter, it’s easy to see how this helps Ted but Marco has some serious up-side in this scenario.
By dropping out and joining forces with Ted before Florida, Marco would become the man who sacrificed his presidential ambitions in order to stop Trump. He didn’t run out of money. Was still getting delegates. But he read the tea-leaves and saw that his country needed a special kind of sacrifice from him. The voters who have held Gang of 8 against him will have to weigh their disagreement against Marco’s unprecedented self-sacrifice. I, for one, think that such an action would erase a host of prior sins. It would also make him the only candidate to exit the campaign gracefully in the last 4 months.
Following this course of action would give Rubio significant credit for stopping trump. It would fuel a desire to see him on the GOP ticket, preserve future presidential viability and also leave the Florida Governors race open to him. Losing badly in his home state and handing the nomination to Trump would kill each of those paths.
I recognize how unlikely it is for Sen. Rubio to choose this path but I believe our nation needs it. Should he choose it, we will owe him a debt of extreme gratitude.
Senator, I believe you’re a good man who truly wants what is best for your country. She needs you now but not in the way you believed when you launched your campaign. Please answer her call.