Donald Trump came away the clear winner in three of the five states voting yesterday (at this writing, Missouri is too close to call with Donald Trump only two-tenths of a point ahead of Ted Cruz). Trump trounced Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida. This is the first clear, running-away victory for Donald Trump in a closed primary. Marco’s beating was so bad, yesterday evening he announced he was suspending his campaign. I give him props for recognizing defeat right away rather than hemming and hawing for 24 hours or so, or playing it coy and announcing he would make his decision at a speech he is giving later in the week.
For that, kudos, Marco. Problem is, Rubio should have done this last week. Of the four remaining candidates, Marco was the only one to not receive a single delegate in last Tuesday’s contests — coming in dead last in Michigan and Mississippi. I mentioned last week, that Marco should spare himself the humiliation of suffering a decisive defeat in Florida, and simply drop out. But he carried on — hoping to pull off a come-from-behind victory the same way he did against Charlie Crist in 2010.
Had Rubio dropped out last week, Cruz could have easily picked up North Carolina, and Missouri probably wouldn’t be too close to call. Because even if only half of Marco’s support went to Cruz, he would have exceeded Donald easily in both states.
Let’s be honest. Marco knew last week that it was over for him. Over the weekend, he encouraged supporters in Ohio to skip over him and cast their votes for John Kasich instead. Given that Marco only received 2.3% of the vote in Ohio, I’m guessing many of his supporters did just that.
But it is what it is. Rubio waited until last night. By clearing aside, he is providing the best opportunity for a conservative candidate to make a viable challenge for the nomination at the ballot box rather than the convention. By stepping aside, Marco helped to consolidate voters around the only remaining conservative in the race. And for that, I give him credit.
I watched Rubio’s speech last night, and I admit, it was well done. Marco made the case for conservatism. He made the case for principles over populism, substance over rage. I’m including it here in case you haven’t seen it.
Here’s the closing (the entire transcript is available at the LA Times):
And so while it is not God’s plan that I be president in 2016 or maybe ever, and while today my campaign is suspended, the fact that I have even come this far is evidence of how special America truly is, and all the reason more why we must do all we can to ensure that this nation remains a special place.
I ask the American people: Do not give in to the fear. Do not give in to the frustration. We can disagree about public policy, we can disagree about it vibrantly, passionately. But we are a hopeful people, and we have every right to be hopeful. For we in this nation are the descendants of go-getters. In our veins runs the blood of people who gave it all up so we would have the chances they never did. We are all the descendants of someone who made our future the purpose of their lives. We are the descendants of pilgrims. We are the descendants of settlers. We are the descendants of men and women that headed westward in the Great Plains not knowing what awaited them. We are the descendants of slaves who overcame that horrible institution to stake their claim in the American Dream. We are the descendants of immigrants and exiles who knew and believed that they were destined for more, and that there was only one place on earth where that was possible. This is who we are, and let us fight to ensure that this is who we remain. For if we lose that about our country, we will still be rich and we will still be powerful, but we will no longer be special.
May God strengthen our people. May God strengthen our nation. May God strengthen the conservative movement. May God strengthen the Republican Party. May God strengthen our eventual nominee. And may God always bless and strengthen this great nation, the United States of America. Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you very much.
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