OPINION

Opinion: Rubio will not be the GOP nominee for president, but neither will Trump

Sen. Marco Rubio while campaigning at That Little Restaurant March 14, 2016 in Melbourne, Florida.

Sen. Marco Rubio while campaigning at That Little Restaurant March 14, 2016 in Melbourne, Florida.  (2016 Getty Images)

Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee for president. Neither will Marco Rubio. That is a shame, for Trump’s Florida victory over Rubio will not put Trump over the 1,237 delegates needed to win in the July convention — but it did move Rubio to suspend his campaign.

Ted Cruz will probably take Trump down. The takedown will be owed to Ohio Governor John Kasich’s victory in his home state over Trump. Kasich won’t be the nominee either, however, and I don’t think he would accept the vice president nomination.

If Cruz beats Trump at the convention, [Rubio's] path would then lead to the Florida Governor’s Mansion, where he would run for an open seat at the grand old age of 46 and move into the Governor’s mansion in January 2019.

- Raoul Lowery Contreras

Political historians will note that as of March 15, 2016, with half of the season’s primaries and caucus behind, two of the remaining candidates for president were Hispanics of the Cuban persuasion. And this history-making campaign occurred in the Republican Party, not the Democratic Party, where some are talking about a Dominican-American for vice president. Big deal.

Yes, Rubio suspended his campaign with the Florida loss. But the speech in which he suspended his campaign does not end Rubio’s path to the White House. It could be detoured through Tallahassee and the Florida governor’s mansion. It might even be detoured through a residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. currently occupied by Vice President Joe Biden.

But if Cruz beats Trump at the convention, Rubio would not be chosen for vice president; his path would then lead to the Florida Governor’s Mansion where he will run for an open seat at the grand old age of 46 and move into the Governor’s mansion in January 2019.

Rubio can campaign hard for Cruz if he’s the nominee. Ditto for Kasich, not so much for Trump. There is such a huge cohort of Republicans who reject Trump that lukewarm support is de riguer among such people. Rubio could claim he supported the ticket and that would be enough. In fact, he need only say, “I’ll vote for him.” He need not campaign for Trump if he is the nominee. “I’ll vote for him” would suffice so he could state “I kept my word.”

The original thesis that John Kasich’s defeat of Donald Trump in Ohio will keep Trump from arriving at the convention with the 1,237delegate votes needed to win on the first ballot visualizes a political brawl none of us have ever seen. That brawl would deny Trump what he claims he should have with a bare plurality. He says a majority is nothing other than a “random” chosen number.

Many of Trump supporters say they will revolt if he doesn’t get the nomination. But if he doesn’t walk into the convention with 1,237 delegate votes, he won’t get a majority and won’t be nominated. So his followers can revolt, who cares. 

Trump can’t win the presidency with their support, much less without the number of voters who say they would never vote for Trump.

Trump’s votes come from many quarters but at their base is the uneducated blue-collar worker that is anti-trade; yet trade is the lifeblood of the American economy, one in five workers work in trade. 

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 14 million Americans work in trade with Mexico alone. The Republican Party is home to American traders. Thus, the fact that so many are angrily challenging trade as a spoke in the GOP wheel can only bring disaster in the long run. The anti-traders must be overwhelmed. Donald Trump’s anti-trade position must be extinguished for all time.

No Republican can lead the party with an anti-trade campaign. No Republican can lead the party with a weak defense posture. No Republican can run for president without knowing how to find Cuba on a map. (At a debate in Miami, Donald Trump exposed his lack of knowledge of Cuba and implied he really didn’t know anything about Cuba.)

No Republican can campaign on not doing anything to preserve Social Security and Medicare. No Republican can campaign on a tax proposal that will add ten trillion dollars to the national debt. No Republican can campaign with hate and vitriol and with telling his supporters that he will pay their legal fees when they attack protesters. 

Lastly, no Republican can campaign on declaring war with our next-door neighbor that happens to be our third largest trading partner. No, no Republican has ever declared war on Mexico — that has been the exclusive province of Democrats.

A Republican can win with a vision of a country that bursts with job creation, with cutting deficits and debt, with an equitable and simplified tax system that is equitable and efficient; with trade expansion, with a military that is well equipped and trained. 

A Republican can win by declaring many federal activities are better done by private enterprise, by selling off unused properties that number in the thousands and suck up millions of dollars in maintenance, and by jailing Wall Streeters that steered the economy into a black hole in 2008 from which we have not yet recovered.  

Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant. He was formerly with the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate. Contreras's books are available at Amazon.com

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