Plan B

This morning at the Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro presented what I believe is a very clear strategy for a Conservative victory in the primaries.

His article, To Stop Trump, Rubio Must Offer Cruz VP OR Supreme Court Spot is frankly, spot-on.

Before I go into what he says, just a few notes.

On Friday, I endorsed Ted Cruz for President. I believe he is the most solid Constitutional conservative currently running for the nomination. With Scott Walker out of the race, I think Cruz would be the best choice for a President who governs according to the limits of the Constitution.

However, elections are run in the real world, not in the hypothetical.

If Cruz fails to perform well on Super Tuesday — a mere nine days from now — I believe his campaign will need to reassess. And if that is the case, a Plan B has to be implemented.

Shapiro’s piece addresses this:

Unless Cruz recognizes that while he may have strength down south, it isn’t enough to overcome the Trump wave, and he won’t have enough delegates to win the nomination in a fractured field – he’s going to run out of steam just before the winner-take-all primaries begin.
 
Unless Rubio acknowledges that Cruz in the race prevents the consolidation he so badly needs to win the nomination outright. The blue, winner-take-all primary states in which Rubio needs to clean up come late in the process; there are just 778 delegates there, and another 162 delegates in purple states. Even if Rubio were to win all those delegates – which he won’t — that’s not enough to win Rubio the nomination if Cruz stays in and he and Trump divvy up the south.

I mentioned the other day that Rubio and Cruz’s “take no prisoners” attacks on each other are going to damage their ability to unify the party behind a more conservative candidate.

Shapiro is right here. Plan B has to be Rubio and Cruz forming an alliance. Neither can win if the other remains.

Although I am more inclined to believe Rubio should offer Cruz the Vice Presidency over the Supreme Court. Cruz voters will be more inclined to vote for Rubio if Cruz is on the ticket.

Consider last night’s numbers.

While the bottom three candidates received a total of about one hundred and sixty-seven thousand votes between them, Rubio and Cruz’s combined votes totaled over three hundred and thirty thousand.

Donald Trump received just over two hundred and thirty-nine thousand.

In other words, Cruz and Rubio combined exceeded Trump’s support by almost one hundred thousand votes.

Imagine those voters combining under the banner of one candidate.

Shapiro goes on:

Right now is Cruz’s high-water mark in terms of utilizing his power to stop Trump. Rubio isn’t going to drop out – not after another “surge” and before his strong states – and Cruz isn’t going to have any leverage with which to work after March 1. By then, of course, Trump will be the prohibitive favorite if he does well down south. And even if Cruz receives enough votes down south to stop Trump and Rubio from winning the nomination, he’s unlikely to benefit from a brokered convention, given how much the establishment despises him.
 
Here’s what needs to happen: Rubio needs to call Cruz and offer him either the vice presidential slot or a nomination on the Supreme Court – the actual best place for Cruz – in return for Cruz throwing all of his support to Rubio. That would put Trump behind the eight-ball in a serious way. Cruz would likely hold out for the vice presidential nomination, given how many enemies he has in the Senate; he knows he can’t count on them to confirm him even if nominated.

Now, I realize that some of you may respond like this:
“Well, why is it Cruz has to drop out? Why not have Rubio drop out?! Rubio’s a snake and he’s been attacking Cruz and calling him a liar and Cruz is the more solid conservative!”

In fact, some of the commenters over at the Daily Wire have been asking just that. Some have been a little more colorful in their language. Trump supporters, of course, have been not so much colorful as vulgar.

But here are some things to consider. And, again, remember, I just endorsed Ted Cruz.

My Plan B deals with the scenario of Cruz not delivering on Super Tuesday. The truth is, elections are run in the real world and not in the abstract. If Cruz is unable to have a strong Super Tuesday, his chances of gaining the nomination will go from possible to highly improbable. By putting in place now a Plan B that combines the infrastructure and support of Cruz and Rubio would mean that Rubio not only remains in the race, but the probability of him winning the nomination improves immeasurably.

As much as we all may detest the “Establishment,” the reality is, if Cruz falters on Super Tuesday, we will have to form an alliance with them to win. these are the people who flatly refuse to support Trump. They are ripe for the picking. Rubio has their support. By choosing Cruz as his presumptive running mate, Rubio would not only bring in the establishment and moderates, but Cruz’s presence in his campaign would help to secure the conservative vote as well.

Where Rubio is weak, Cruz tends to be strong. They both are very solid conservatives in terms of reducing the size of government, the Second Amendment, taxes and the economy, as well as social issues. Rubio’s immigration position is very difficult to pin down, but Cruz is spot-on. With Cruz as his VP, I think Rubio would have a much more difficult time flying off into crazy-land when it comes to immigration.

This Plan B will remove all chances of a brokered convention. There’s too much buzzing out there about the possibility of a brokered convention. And, frankly, that would be a bad thing. If we end up with a brokered convention that deprives Trump of the nomination, the danger of him going third party is far greater. Now, don’t get me wrong. Trump’s ego is enormous, and even losing outright in the primaries may be enough to get his nose sufficiently out of joint to run third party. But I do think the risk of that increases in the likelihood there is a brokered convention.

The most important thing to keep in mind is this. We are stronger together than divided. As I mentioned above, in the combined voting among the top three last night, Trump won about 42% of the vote compared to the Rubio/Cruz 58%. That is a significant divide. It also measures up to recent polling that showed both Cruz and Rubio beat Trump in a one-on-one race by 16%. When Kasich and Carson leave the race, a combined Rubio/Cruz alliance would more than likely gather their votes as well.

Shapiro opens his piece with a quote from a column he wrote on Friday where he said:

A close finish for second place in South Carolina means nobody leaves. Just as importantly, Marco Rubio’s decision to cut up Cruz personally, suggesting that Cruz is a nefarious crook and brutal manipulator, means that Cruz will never drop out and endorse Rubio; Rubio obviously won’t do that for Cruz, either. Which spells a Trump nomination.

To this, he wrote, “Those predictions look pretty solid. Unless. Unless both Rubio and Cruz put their egos aside.”

He is spot-on. But I would go further.

We too need to put our egos aside. The vitriolic fervor of this campaign has been unlike anything I remember in the thirty-plus years I have been voting. The candidates aren’t the only ones who are at each other’s throats.

Ben Howe from Red State tweeted this out last Tuesday and I think he hit the nail on the head:

Like Cruz and Rubio, we need to put aside our differences, set out egos aside and join forces.

The truth is, a Trump nomination all but guarantees defeat in 2016. With an unfavorable rating of sixty percent nationally (among Republicans and Democrats), Trump has no chance of winning in November. And because the percentage of Republican voters who will never vote for Donald Trump is significant — running anywhere from 35-39%, it is imperative that an alternative ticket emerges that would give that percentage a viable option. If we turn on each other and further fracture the party, we destroy the chances of any Republican nominee winning in November.

I really believe that Rubio and Cruz need to shift from bitter rivals to “Buddy Movie” right quick if we want a victory against the Democrats.

Butch and Sundance

Shapiro’s closing argument puts it best:

But the deal needs to be cut. Only a Rubio-Cruz alliance will save the party from Trump. And both men need to put aside their differences for the good of the country and conservatism.

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6 thoughts on “Plan B

  • February 21, 2016 at 11:42 am
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    The question I have, that no one has provided a good answer to, is what value is there in being VP? Isn’t Cruz worth more to the conservative movement if he remains a Senator as opposed to a possible VP position? What is Ted going to actually be able to accomplish as VP?

    And to be honest, will Rubio really be able to bring Cruz supporters into the fold, just because Ted is on his ticket. I personally don’t think so

    However, Cruz and/or Mike Lee on the Supreme Court would be tremendous!

  • February 21, 2016 at 2:31 pm
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    I don’t think Rubio needs Cruz on the ticket. The Bush people will drift to Marco, the Carson people will support him, and the Kasich people will come to Rubio when Kasich leaves. If I’m Rubio, I would be working whole-heartedly on gaining the endorsement of someone whom the GOP establishment like, someone whom the Cruzbots would like, and someone whom even some of the Trumpkins would support. Who? Scott Walker. Rubio’s already tried once to get Walker’s endorsement (back in November), but that was too early in the race. Now that the field has narrowed, I think a Walker endorsement would make the Rubio candidacy unbeatable and puts Walker on the ticket as VP.

    Regarding Cruz on SCOTUS, I admit I have not read any of his nine arguments (five wins, four losses) before the court to understand his lines of reasoning so I don’t really have an opinion about his appointment. However, I would like to see Cruz move in a different direction — Governor of Texas. I think two terms as Texas Governor would give him the strongest possible resumé: experience as a US Senator; experience as a chief executive. For me, that’s a winning CV in 2024.

  • February 22, 2016 at 9:20 am
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    Why doesn’t Cruz offer Rubio the VP slot? Rubio’s younger. Eight years as VP ought to season him enough for another run at the top job.

    • February 22, 2016 at 11:00 am
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      Note my Plan B is based on the scenario that Cruz does not have a successful Super Tuesday. If he does very well, then, sure, it could be Cruz/Rubio. Either way, these two guys have got to form some sort of alliance.

  • February 22, 2016 at 2:10 pm
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    Sorry, Dianny, two losers don’t make a winner. Hate to disagree. I love your website, but like it or not, Trump will win the nomination. Besides, it’s starting to look like both of these guys are illegible

    • February 24, 2016 at 3:47 am
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      Neither of Marco Rubio’s parents were citizens at the time of his birth, but Ted Cruz’s mother was. That makes all the difference in which candidate is eligible to be president and which isn’t. (Thanks for the link, Wikipedia.)
      “Marco Rubio Once Benefitted From Birthright Citizenship, Now He’s Open to Restricting It”. National Journal. August 18, 2015. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2015.

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