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Marco Rubio Tag

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. One such idea is being touted as the "Unity" ticket of Cruz and Rubio (or Rubio and Cruz, though this seems less likely). 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.

Even before yesterday's Super Tuesday primaries, it seemed that Cruz and Rubio were locked in a game of Chicken, and it promised to be a bumpy ride. The same holds true now:
The game of chicken, also known as the hawk-dove game or snowdrift game, is an influential model of conflict for two players in game theory. The principle of the game is that while each player prefers not to yield to the other, the worst possible outcome occurs when both players do not yield. The name "chicken" has its origins in a game in which two drivers drive towards each other on a collision course: one must swerve, or both may die in the crash, but if one driver swerves and the other does not, the one who swerved will be called a "chicken," meaning a coward.
Although there are five players now left in the GOP primary, one is dominant (Trump) and the two second-place candidates have been trading leads (Cruz and Rubio), with the other two (Kasich and Carson) very far behind. Back when the game featured far more players, the GOP race seemed a variation of the Tragedy of the Commons:

For months now, Donald Trump has spouted the same line on immigration, promising to build a border wall and deport people here illegally.  Last night, he admitted he would not deport the 11 million people in the United States illegally.  It was posturing. Trump appeared on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News.  Here's the video:

Donald Trump launched his campaign popularity with a hard line on immigration, not limited to The Wall. It struck a chord with the electorate, as I noted in a guest column at National Review on July 13, 2015, Trump’s Lesson: Voters Are Furious about Illegal Immigration:
.... something happened on the way to the denunciations and purges [of Trump]. Kate Steinle was murdered in San Francisco, a sanctuary city. Steinle was killed in broad daylight on a popular pedestrian pier in a business and tourist district, by an illegal immigrant with a long criminal record who had been deported five times and recently was released from custody…. In the wake of the murder of Kate Steinle, many Republican candidates have denounced the sanctuary-cities agenda. There is talk of withholding funding from cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. But who among the Republican candidates has stood side by side with the families who have lost loved ones to illegal-immigrant criminals? Trump did….”
Since then, immigration has continued to be the rocket fuel in Trump's campaign.

I noted last night that Marco Rubio had done to Donald Trump what Trump successfully did to Jeb Bush:
.... Marco Rubio was the first person in any of the debates to successfully take on Trump on a range of issues. Rubio mocked and belittled Trump in the humorous, mocking and highly effective manner that Trump used to make Jeb look small.
Mockery can be a very effective tactic against bullies, because it takes their strength and turns it into their weakness. Rubio is on the stump today continuing the mockery, suggesting that Trump was panicking and may even have been worried he wet his pants, via Politico:

The biggest take away from the CNN Republican Debate is that contrary to prior promises, Donald Trump says he will not release his income tax returns because he is being audited. There is no law, that I'm aware of, prohibiting such release. It sounded like a massive dodge, since IRS audits can go on for years. Trump even said his last 4-5 years of returns are being audited. Trump was his usual, petty self, gratuitously insulting Hugh Hewitt for supposedly having low ratings, even when Hewitt hadn't asked hostile question at the time, but reminded Trump of the prior promise to release the returns. I guess Trump supporters will see such conduct as "tough" and being a "fighter," but it was childish. Perhaps more important, Marco Rubio was the first person in any of the debates to successfully take on Trump on a range of issues.  Rubio mocked and belittled Trump in the humorous, mocking and highly effective manner that Trump used to make Jeb look small.

About a month ago, when Donald Trump was claiming that Ted Cruz probably was not eligible to be president, Trump was questioned by Jake Tapper about whether Marco Rubio was eligible. Trump exhibited some legal understanding of the issue, citing an op-ed written by Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe. Trump's conclusion was that he had no doubts Rubio was eligible:
"It's a different [than Ted Cruz], very different thing because he was born here. He was born on the land."
As the attacks on Cruz's eligibility rose in intensity and Trump threatened suit, I predicted that Trump would have a hard time holding that line if Rubio rose in the polls and became Trump's main challenger:

It's something of a sideshow, but nonetheless interesting. Breitbart.com has been all over Marco Rubio for months over the Gang of 8 and immigration in general. I don't think Rubio has responded directly before, or if he did, it was the usual type of campaign responses to media. But last night, on the eve of the South Carolina primary, Breitbart ran a headline story about ICE officers calling out Rubio for dishonesty and betrayal. It got a Drudge Banner link (image via Jim Hoft):

In this edition of Today in Political Attack Ads, no one is handling the mudslinging too well.

Cruz campaign asks stations to stop airing anti-Cruz attack ad

Oh, boo hoo. Politics is a blood sport. Time for everyone to put their big boy pants on and stop whining about attack ads. Politico reports:
Ted Cruz's campaign sent a letter to TV stations across South Carolina and Georgia on Tuesday, demanding that they stop airing what it calls "a false attack ad" from the conservative super PAC American Future Fund that goes after the Texas senator on national security. "The ad falsely claims 'Cruz proposed mass legalization of illegal immigrants.' Ted Cruz has never introduced, outlined, or supported any policy that would give legal status to illegal immigrants," wrote Eric Brown, general counsel to the campaign, in the letter shared with the media. "Indeed, quite the opposite, Ted Cruz led the fight in Congress against legislation written by Senator Rubio, among others, that created legal permanent status for millions of people in the country unlawfully. At least two fact-checks have evaluated this claim and determined it to be false, and others found no evidence to support it.”

We're pleased to present what will be a reoccurring election feature here at Legal Insurrection -- Today in Political Attack Ads. As long as the mud is flying, you'll find it here. Political attack ads are as old and colorful as America. To our cultural credit, negative ads are far less personal these days. "John Adams is a hideous hermaphroditicly character with neither the force or firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman," claimed Thomas Jefferson (one of my personal favorites). "Do you want to see your dwelling in flames?! Female chastity violated?! Children writhing on a pike!! Well that's what will happen if you vote for Thomas Jefferson!" warned John Adams. Back in 2010, Reason put together a video chronicling some of the best campaign rhetoric from the election of 1800.

During Saturday night's NH GOP debate, Marco Rubio was asked how he planned to tackle social issues with millennial voters, in particular issues of life and marriage. Rubio discussed abortion as a two-fold issue -- one dealing with women's rights and the other with the right to life. "I've chosen to err on the side of life," he said. Hillary Clinton's stance on abortion was pulled into his answer as Rubio called her views "extreme."

It's pretty clear what the most talked-about segment of the GOP New Hampshire debate was. When Chris Christie treated Marco Rubio like an accused murderer on the witness stand, alternatively badgering and mocking the witness's alibi for where he was the night of the crime. The witness, though, would not be shaken from his story. It's his story, and he's sticking to it. Needless to say, Chris Christie is trying to portray this as a game changer in the trial known as the Republican primaries:

Did you hear the latest? Yesterday in Trumpernoia: Fox News is out to get Donald Trump, after giving him so much airtime people previously had accused Fox News of being in the tank for Trump. Now, the fix it in for Marco Rubio. It's an Open Borders billionaire conspiracy. Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes' strings are being pulled by a Saudi Prince who was photographed with Megyn Kelly. The daughter of Fox News Executive VIP Bill Sammon works for Rubio. But it goes even deeper, really deep. Someone who used to work for Dana Perino now is Rubio's press secretary. It's just rumor for now, but Jasper may be in on the conspiracy, but he's not talking. And don't trust the vote count, it's being done by a Rubio donor. Today in Trumpernoia: Frank Luntz did consulting for Marco Rubio almost a decade ago to help shape Rubio's political image. But Luntz doesn't disclose that decade-old consulting when he talks about Rubio, so all the Luntz panels on Fox News are biased against Trump and favoring Rubio. The spark for this bias claim was this Luntz focus group after the last GOP debate, and Rubio's recent rise in the polls:

Marco Rubio may have received the third-most votes in Iowa this week, but he won big. The Iowa caucus was Monday.  Even as votes were being counted, news emerged confirming long-standing rumor that South Carolina Senator Tim Scott would endorse Rubio. Scott is the first African-American Senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction and his endorsement could swing the state.  According to the Washington Times:

Frank Luntz appeared on the Kelly File last night and offered a scathing rebuke of Right to Rise, the Super Pac supporting the candidacy of Jeb Bush which typically attacks Marco Rubio. Luntz said that when all is said and done they will have spent $100 million dollars and that it was wasted. He even said if he was a donor to the organization, he would demand his money back with interest, calling their ads "crap."
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