Trump surprised me in Hawaii. Especially after he lost in Maine, a state that I thought he’d win. My explanation here is that, in the absence of a strong enthusiastic base of hardcore TrueCons (like they had in Maine), Trump’s enthusiastic supporters helped him to win the caucus.
The other big story here is the Rubio collapse. Fourth place in the biggest races, Mississippi and Michigan. And only 5.1% of the vote in Mississippi, in a region where Rubio was getting more like 20% on Super Tuesday. Rubio has collapsed. Everyone knows it now.
Rubio coming in ahead of Kasich in Idaho is a Mormon thing and doesn’t mean he has support anywhere else in the West besides in Utah (which I now predict for Cruz because of Rubio’s collapse). And we assume that Rubio’s narrow 2.5-point lead over Kasich in the Hawaii caucus is because native Hawaiian and Japanese-Americans wanted to vote for a guy who also has brown skin. This is a factor unique to Hawaii. In fact, Rubio was given a good chance of winning Hawaii a while back, so there is not comfort in just barely avoiding fourth place.
The only state where the combined Rubio+Kasich vote would have come in higher than third place is in Michigan, where Kasich was strong and would have beat Cruz for second place bragging rights if Rubio had dropped out of the race.
Based on Kasich’s surprisingly strong showing in the neighboring state of Michigan, I predict he will win his home state of Ohio. Similarly, based on Rubio’s collapse in the Deep South, I predict Rubio will lose Florida. Polls show him losing and he has negative momentum.
Will Rubio drop out before Florida? This may turn into a weird case of the GOPe now wanting him to stay in so he might win the delegates, while Rubio wants to drop out before suffering such an embarrassing loss that would kill his future political career.
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The GOPe probably wants Rubio to drop out immediately, to ensure that Kasich wins his home state and also wins the DC convention. Rubio losing his home state to Trump doesn’t help defeat Trump, it does the opposite by making him look stronger.
Multiple polls released today show Rubio way way behind Trump in Florida, and Kasich very close behind Trump in Ohio. If Rubio drops out right now and endorses Kasich, that would surely put Kasich over the edge in Ohio, while Florida is obviously a lost cause.
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Also, polls show Kasich and Rubio closely tied in Illinois for second place, with Trump in a weak first place. If Rubio drops out now and endorses Kasich, then Kasich has a good chance of beating Trump in Illinois (based on the theory that Rubio’s “establishment lane” voters will mostly go to Kasich) and picking up the lion’s share of delegates (based on delegate rules which disproportionately award the first-place guy). It’s much safer to bet on Kasich in Illinois than on Rubio winning Florida. Every poll shows Trump has an insurmountable lead over Rubio in Florida; Trump will win 100% of Florida’s delegates whether Rubio stays in or drops out.
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Isaac Chotiner at Slate Magazine says: “Marco Rubio Needs to Drop Out Now. Not Tomorrow. Now. It’s his only shot at taking down Trump and restoring his own dignity.”
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Trump-hating Erik Erickson wrote yesterday that Rubio should drop out before Florida, but his reasoning is that it helps Cruz who is better than Trump. I guarantee that Rubio is NEVER going to “ally with Cruz.” Rubio hates Cruz. And no one in the GOPe will ask him to endorse Cruz because they also hate Cruz.
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Yesterdy, CNN reported:
Publicly, the campaign is maintaining they are still a contender in this race, touting a Sunday win in Puerto Rico’s primary that delivered Rubio 23 delegates. But privately, the campaign is having a debate about whether he should remain in the mix — even for his home state of Florida’s primary.
“He doesn’t want to get killed in his home state,” one source familiar with the discussions said, noting “a poor showing would be a risk and hurt his political future.”
Most of the senator’s advisers agree he does not have a path to the nomination and some are advising him to get out ahead of the March 15 primary.
Sources within the campaign also say the pressure will only continue to mount following an expected disappointing showing Tuesday, when voters in Michigan, Mississippi, Hawaii and Idaho make their picks in the GOP primary.
“Not going to have a great day is an understatement,” one campaign source said.
Coming in fourth in Mississippi behind Kasich is probably even worse than his advisers imagined would happen.
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Rubio says the CNN story is false, but the reporter responded: “So the Rubio campaign may not be happy that this story is out there when they are fighting for their life, they don’t want people to know there is dissent in the campaign, but the reality is we were told there has been a serious debate about whether he should drop out before the Florida primary.”
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Probably, the reason why Trump is saying that Rubio should drop out is because he’s using reverse psychology.