South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley endorsed Republican candidate Marco Rubio yesterday. This situation has some contemplating what a Rubio-Haley ticket might mean. From Andi O’Rourke at Bustle:
Rubio and Haley could potentially represent a reboot of the Republican brand and make incursions into traditional Democratic demographics like young people, immigrants, people of color and women. Remember, millennials of voting age have overtaken Baby Boomers — not to mention are much more ethnically diverse. In an attempt to stave off a Trump presidency, the GOP could finally be shedding the perception that it is the party of crotchety, old men.
Basically is the idea that a young, diverse ticket with a Vice Presidential candidate who has favorable numbers in her home state as well as among Republicans and Democrats in general could spell trouble for Democrats, especially Clinton, come November. That would almost be worth considering if it weren’t for what Shane Goldmacher of Politico reports from the Cruz campaign:
“[Rubio] has the very popular sitting governor, very popular junior senator, very popular upstate congressman. He has every favorable position going for him that he could ever hope to have,” Miller said of Rubio. “If Rubio can’t win here, under these favorable circumstances, where can he win?”
Current polls show Rubio and Cruz battling each other for second place far behind South Carolina front-runner Donald Trump.
Barring an ‘upset’ like in Iowa (if third place is an upset), Rubio’s chances of legitimately defeating Trump and, to a lesser extent, Cruz for the nomination rests on Bush and Kasich dropping out and him gobbling up their supporters. Conceivably I can see Kasich bowing out once he realizes his ‘momentum’ from New Hampshire won’t translate to South Carolina, but really, with Super Tuesday only ten days after SC’s primary and a debate in between then, he’ll disappear only if he’s out of cash or admits he hasn’t a prayer of winning even one state (of course, that didn’t stop Ron Paul). Bush, if he’s still got the money, also will stay in the game.
But let’s go back to that presumptive Rubio-Haley ticket. Would the Republican base really fall in line with two 44-year-old candidates with little experience? Rubio’s Cuban heritage hasn’t been a problem so far (nor should it be) and neither has Haley’s Indian heritage, but will the base raise questions about it if and when it gets to the national level? It’s all too easy to imagine right-wingers doing the same with Haley’s birth name (Nimrata Nikki Randhawa) as they did when they insisted on capitalizing Obama’s middle name. It’s all too easy to imagine right-wingers looking at the two of them and thinking their party has gone full Democrat. On a good day I might believe that before the Republicans co-opted the Tea Party and granted its darker elements legitimacy that Republican voters could go for it. Not anymore.