Life is rough for Senator Marco Rubio these days. The Republican establishment in general is in some ugly shape right now. Jeb Bush was long thought to be the probable nominee and he dropped out weeks ago after a few unimpressive primary and caucus results. The donors and party elite then shifted to the young Florida Senator who could articulate the neoconservative agenda better while appearing presidential and sounding firm.
Now he’s been reduced to being faced with losing his home state to a guy with small hands. And like Senator Rubio said, you know what they say about guys with small hands.
But let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing, he knows exactly what he’s doing.
Florida is a winner-take-all state with 99 delegates on the line and it only look for Trump. While all the candidates are not even half way to the required 1,237 necessary to secure the nomination, Trump has the highest with 458. Senator Ted Cruz is in second with 359, and Senator Rubio has 151.
Polling currently has Florida set as a two man race between Trump and Senator Rubio, but with Trump leading. Washington Post/Univision polls Trump ahead with a 7 point lead over Senator Rubio, with Senator Cruz almost twenty points behind Trump. Suffolk University polls Trump with a 9 point lead over Senator Rubio, with Senator Cruz again almost twenty points out behind Trump. Fox News polls paint a slightly different picture, with Trump up ahead of Senator Rubio by 23 points and Senator Cruz just a few points behind his Senate colleague.
Regardless, it shows Trump gaining a bigger lead over Senator Cruz and Senator Cruz not having a prayer. Senator Rubio may have a shot, but even with a victory that is becoming increasingly improbable, he’s going to be a couple hundred delegates out and still fighting a perception that he’s no longer viable.
Although Senator Rubio is not running for re-election in the United States Senate, he likely still has a political career in mind and this is probably not the last we will see of him. In a post-Senate world for him, he’s going to need to restore the dominant personality he’s always displayed. The confident and strong speaker has fallen from the position of influence he once had.
The problem he’s going to run into is in Florida and if he does lose to a controversial businessman that is still widely unpopular among establishment and moderate Republicans alike, it will be an enormous embarrassment for him that could hurt him in the future. If Senator Rubio can’t stop Trump, it speaks to his leadership ability and his campaign performance will hang over his head. But if he drops out before Florida, he concedes and can save himself the potential embarrassment. Exiting the race before Tuesday thus saves his future career, but losing to Donald Trump if he stays in is going to hurt. Given he has an unlikely path to the nomination at this point, it’s not worth staying in the race.
Save yourself Senator Rubio, and drop out.