After Iowa, Sen. Rubio promised his supporters he would rocket to the nomination on the strength of his 3-2-1 strategy. But one month later, he finished tonight’s contests 3-3-3-4. As Paul Begala said of Rubio, “Everybody likes him but the voters.”
In Kansas, Rubio lost to Ted Cruz by 32 percent. In Kentucky, he trailed Donald Trump by 20 percent and by 30 percent in Louisiana. And in Maine, the “Future of the Republican Party” was trounced by almost 40 points.
Republican voters were obviously turned off by Rubio’s efforts to match Donald Trump insult for insult. The Florida senator first suggested that the Manhattan billionaire had wet his pants during a presidential debate. Then — channeling bathroom humor found in Austin Powers — Marco Rubio suggested that the GOP frontrunner was poorly endowed sexually. It was too much for conservative voters who would normally be his natural constituency. Sen. Ted Cruz ended up being the beneficiary of Sen. Rubio’s juvenile behavior, as the Texas senator scored two more impressive victories in Kansas and Maine.
The Rubio campaign, by contrast, was left humiliated again, cornered into betting their candidate’s political future on a first place finish in Florida. That outcome was made more difficult by tonight’s collapse. If there is anyone around Rubio who understands that this campaign is over, they should tell him to go home, announce his run for reelection as a senator, get the voting card out of the glove compartment, and start rebuilding his political reputation right away.
The senator still has time to salvage a political career damaged by his lackluster presidential campaign. But that won’t still be the case if Rubio hangs around this race long enough to be embarrassed by Donald Trump in his home state of Florida. If that were to be the case, the once promising senator would be forced to live out his professional life as a Beltway lobbyist or worse yet, endure the grim existence of being a cable news host.