Saturday, October 17, 2015

Who Can Trump Trump? Not Rubio

The Village expected Donald Trump to have been dispatched by now, and for the Very Serious People in the GOP to now be leading comfortably.  They of course are not, a full-scale open revolt is underway with Trump, Carson, and Fiorina leading a mob of GOP primary voters that want to destroy the party and replace it with Tea Party fantasy where "illegals" are rounded up and deported, and Democrats are just rounded up.

These are the same GOP primary voters that despise Sen. Marco Rubio because he's too weak on immigration, and the only acceptable immigration to the new Trumpian GOP is none at all. The Village is running out of patience and starting to blame the candidates.  Jeb Bush was first earlier this month, and now it's Rubio's turn for "Why haven't you stopped Trump yet?"

The hype surrounding Marco Rubio's presidential campaign just smashed into the wall of reality.

First, the Florida senator's team insisted it had stashed more campaign cash in the bank than fellow Floridian Jeb Bush -- only it hadn't. The campaign also told reporters it had raised $6 million in the last fundraising quarter -- also not true. That turned out to be an overly generous rounding of the underwhelming real figure: $5.7 million.

Yet those aren't even the most troublesome parts of the Florida senator's most recent campaign finance report. Rubio may be slowly rising in the polls, but his third quarter filing revealed a campaign that's also out-manned by many of its rivals in the early-voting states. His staff is largely concentrated in Washington, with just a small umbrella of on-the-ground, early-state operatives -- and he's already at a disadvantage because he hasn't invested the time in early-state visits that some of his opponents have.

For all the recent buzz surrounding his candidacy -- fueled by strong debate performances -- Rubio isn't raising enough money to keep pace with his rivals in the top tier and he's running out of time to assemble a robust field organization.

"If Trump-mania subsides, you’ve got to have a mechanism and a structure," said Chip Felkel, a South Carolina Republican strategist who isn't affiliated with any campaign. "I think you’re being risky if you don’t put a structure in place."

The smart money has been on Rubio for some time now as the dynamic Latino Republican who would solve immigration and knock the crazy out of the GOP, the charismatic Obama of the right. Remember this TIME cover from February 2013?

Full-body portrait of Marco Rubio 

The Village has invested quite a lot in the myth of Rubio as the party's "savior" in 2016. Instead, Trump and Carson are crapping all over the bed.  Christie has failed.  Rand Paul has failed.  Jeb has failed.  Jindal has failed. Rubio isn't their last shot (that would be Ted Cruz) but he's the one they prefer.  And he's in the middle of failing.  The Summer of Trump is now the Fall of the GOP Establishment, and they are terrified that Trump or Carson will win the nomination and get crushed next year.

Rubio is their last hope.  And he's fading.

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