Together, they might prevail.
While Marco Rubio won his first state (Minnesota) and surged late in Virginia and Ted Cruz won his home state of Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska for a total of four state wins, Donald Trump did very well in the Super Tuesday primaries. So well, in fact, that conservatives are beginning to search in earnest for a means to win the GOP nomination with a conservative candidate.
Writing at The Resurgent, Erick Erickson argues for this in stark terms: “Unite or Die.”
To truly beat Trump and keep his supporters from completely fleeing, Trump must be beaten in the primaries, not on the floor of the convention. And it is still mathematically possible, but it requires Cruz to win Florida, not Rubio. All of this talk by Rubio voters about later states, closed primaries, and favorability ignores voter psychology and, frankly, ignores the fact that Marco Rubio’s Gang of Eight position has poisoned the well too much for too many Republican voters. It will, in fact, go down as one of the worse political miscalculations in the last quarter century. All of this talk by Rubio voters ignores that Rubio and Cruz together can win Florida and Ohio, but divided cannot and only increase the odds of either a Trump nomination or the delegitimization of the process by which the GOP will pick its nominee.
Additionally, while Rubio’s strategy against Trump has worked terrifically, it also has reminded people that Rubio looks young and not necessarily experienced. The irony is that there really is only a minor age difference between Rubio and Cruz, but Rubio comes across as the brash kid because of his remarkably effective attacks on Trump.
Seeing Rubio and Cruz twice now tag team Donald Trump and throw Trump off his game, shows the Republican Party that a unity ticket would work and wold be effective. A unity ticket is the right thing to do.
This impression of Cruz as the more presidential of the two leads many of the unity ticket proponents to suggest that Cruz be at the top of such a ticket, and Cruz himself has seemed open to the idea.
CBS reports on the idea of the GOP rallying behind Cruz:
Some conservative commentators are already cheering that idea on, especially since some recent polls indicate Rubio and Kasich could lose on their home turfs in Florida and Ohio, respectively, on March 15.
“It is time for Ted Cruz to accept we need a unity ticket and for Rubio to agree to be Cruz’s vice presidential pick, uniting the outsider and insider factions of the party and stopping Trump in the process,” wrote Erick Erickson in a blog post.
Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak supports that idea.
“Cruz and Rubio together would be a really powerful ticket. It would be forward-looking. You would have two first-time senators of Cuban descent in their 40s. It would be a tremendous contrast with Hillary and whoever she nominates” Mackowiak told CBS News.
For many going into the election, either a Cruz-Rubio or a Rubio-Cruz pairing was a dream team. And while some had their favorite, for many, it did not matter much who was on top. Things always look different in the middle of a campaign, and now the candidates appear to be at each other’s throats. But this appearance is deceiving. Setting aside the now routine and regrettable modern practice of a calling a rival candidate a “liar” about his own record — or what he says about yours — neither has personally attacked the other. . . . .
In the immediate wake of Super Tuesday, each has much to gain from such a deal. As the candidate currently with more delegates, Cruz would love to get enough support from Rubio’s delegates to secure the nomination. For Rubio, currently in third place, for whom holding his home state of Florida has now become a do-or-die situation, the idea of securing the vice presidency would be a valuable insurance policy. As a young man, he would have an inside track to the presidency in eight years. Our current immigration situation would likely be addressed by a Cruz-Rubio administration to the degree that the issue would no longer be any obstacle for him in 2024.
With Cruz winning three of the four closed primaries so far and the calendar moving toward more closed primary states, a Cruz-Rubio unity ticket may well be just the ticket for conservatives and Republicans who do not now and feel that they never can support Trump.
[Featured image via NBC News]