If there’s anything everyone in the press is agreed on, it is that Rubio poses the only serious threat of actually taking away Trump’s support. He proved it by massively shifting the nationwide poll (and market) results with his close third-place finish in Iowa. Yet, there seems to be something odd about this latest incarnation of Bought Robot (Bought Robot 2.0: More Bought, More Robot, more Russophobia). While he is certainly capable of taking some counties once won by his predecessor, Bought Robot 1.0, he does not seem to be capable of stretching anywhere at all beyond them. In fact, Rubio hasn’t even won most of the counties won by the original Bought Robot, even when we discount New Hampshire. In contrast, the Donald has so far won counties won by Romney (including all those in New Hampshire), counties won by Santorum, all the counties won by Gingrich at this point in the campaign, counties won by Paul (including all those in New Hampshire), and a county won by Perry. He’s just more broad-based than any other candidate-his greatest strengths are in the generally politically disunited West Virginia, Mississippi, and New York. He’s not a niche candidate. He’s gonna win.
So let us dispense with this talk of Trump’s ceilings. Trump is a Nietzschean superman. He has no ceilings. Bought Robot 2.0 meanwhile, might well have a genuine ceiling of winning only rich urban counties, limiting him permanently to under 40% of national Republican voting share. The fact the elite picked such a young, boyish junior Senator who has so little accomplishment behind him, yet, who is known for spouting the most putrid idiocy fed him by his backers while so far not able to win even most of Romney’s counties as their spare tire says much about their inability to control the course of what they were supposed to be in charge of in the first place- the empowerment of credible candidates.
If there is one thing you must remember as the election heads into Santorum country, it is this: Ted’s not dead. Nationwide, Cruz is in a clear second place behind Trump (with a four-plus point lead over Rubio). He might not win the nomination, but he can certainly win enough to upset Rubio in the Mississippi Valley states, where Santorum was strongest. And in America, winning the plurality of the vote and all a state’s congressional districts, as the recent winner of South Carolina has done, is often enough to get one the entirety of a state’s delegates.
For the general election as a whole, unlike 2012, this isn’t Bought Robot v. Capable Black Incumbent. It’s Make America Great Again (and I mean it) v. I’m With Her (and I mean it).