Peter Navarro asks, “Is It Already Over for Rubio in Florida?“:
Rubio is gambling he can beat Trump in his home state of Florida and favorite son John Kasich can thump Trump in Ohio. These two Establishment Republicans can thereby prevent Trump from sewing up the nomination before what then must become a “brokered convention.” Of course, at the convention, the Republican Party machine will take over, snuff out the reviled Trump in a smoke-filled room, and anoint Rubio and Kasich as their dream ticket – or perhaps Romney-Rubio.
It’s a strategy that looks pretty good on paper – particularly since it is likely to be bankrolled by a flood of anti-trump Super PAC bucks. The only BIG problem is this: Marco Rubio doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in the hot and humid Hell of a Miami summer of taking his home state.
Navarro lists off a bunch of reasons why Rubio will fail in Florida: absentee and early voting, abandoning the Tea Party that got him elected, etc. Nate Silver attributes it to his failure to build voter loyalty, or the mismatch between his far-right positions and cosmopolitan image.
I think they’re right. Like Navarro says, Rubio campaigned in Florida in 2010 as a Tea Party Republican, and his acquiescence on illegal immigration, among other things, pissed them right off. And as Silver points out, Rubio’s ground game has been weak. Even knowing how crucial winning Florida is, here’s this bit about the foundering campaign:
Marco Rubio’s campaign took too long to go after Florida Republicans who vote by mail.
But the campaign finally has a phone-bank operation phoning voters to remind them to send in their ballots. And it’s also got fliers in the mail, for further encouragement.
A Monmouth University poll suggested Rubio banked most support among early voters — which means if he had “chased” their ballots before now, he might have snagged even more support. He has to hope none of his Republican rivals are going after absentee voters in the final week of the election.
This is the mailer in question:
But you know what? I think anyone who’s paid any attention to Florida at all since before the race even began could tell you Rubio won’t win it, and they wouldn’t have to do the kind of work Navarro and Silver and others do to figure out exactly why Rubio is failing. Want to know the last time Rubio led a poll in Florida? January. Of 2013. More recent polls show him doing a bit better, but he’s still trailing Trump by significant margins. And if this is to be believed:
then I’m not sure why we need to be having much of a discussion about this. Rubio is toast. Even in the event of a brokered convention, I can’t think of too many reasons why the GOP would nominate him as their candidate when he can’t muster support in his home state.