So much for “Marcomentum.”
Eight days ago, the national media, with some justification, was spreading the word that Marco Rubio was the unexpected star of the Iowa caucus, despite the fact that he received fewer votes than Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
Rubio began rising in the polls in New Hampshire, and it seemed that the battle of the governors (Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich) was all about who would come in third, and live to continue their campaign.
That didn’t happen.
Rubio finished fifth in New Hampshire Tuesday night, not only behind Trump and Cruz again, but also behind John Kasich and Jeb Bush.
So now who is the Republican Party establishment going to rally around to stop the Trump machine?
Based on last night, it perhaps should be Kasich, who Democrats have always acknowledged would be a formidable general election candidate, if he could somehow survive a very conservative GOP primary season. Kasich isn’t really getting all that much love from the punditry, however, not like Rubio did last week. He should, though. For months Kasich, Bush and Christie had decided to put all their chips into the Granite State, and it was the Ohio governor who came out on top with a solid second-place finish with nearly 16 percent of the vote.
Trump received 34 percent in winning, but Kasich deserves credit; he got more votes than the other two governors who were his rivals. Pundits are dismissing it, however, saying that he can’t win in the South. Well, maybe not South Carolina, but Kasich does have solid conservative credentials, despite what Bush and his Super PAC was telling N.H. voters.
Although he’s not being mentioned that often Wednesday, Cruz’ third-place finish is impressive, since N.H. didn’t seem to be a state that was ever going to favor him. He certainly will be a major contender in the Southern states.
Bush and his minions are selling his fourth place finish as a comeback, which is smart. Bush is performing well as a candidate, and it will be fascinating to see whether he can break through the Trump insurgency in South Carolina.
It looks like Christie is done, and purely for entertainment sake that’s a sad development. The New Jersey governor has definitely made this campaign more entertaining, and his takedown of Rubio on Saturday night will never be forgotten by political junkies. However, the numbers simply weren’t there for him Tuesday night.
And Rubio? It was a great first step to admitting in his concession speech last night that he failed under the Klieg lights on Saturday evening. As Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech last night, we all fall at some point in life. It’s all about getting back up.
Meanwhile, how freaked out is the Democratic Party establishment about the utter rejection that Clinton received Tuesday? Judging by some of her surrogates, not very. They continue to say that Bernie Sanders is a limited candidate, and I agree that he has got to get his act together regarding foreign policy.
However it’s so obvious that he seems genuine to Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire, and he’s got momentum (and money) going into the Nevada, South Carolina, and the Super Tuesday states.
Meanwhile, Debbie Wasserman Schultz says that Trump’s victory is proof positive that extremist elements have infiltrated the GOP mainstream.
Joe Gruters, Trump’s Florida chairman, says his smashing victory is an overwhelming rebuke to the GOP establishment.