Indiana is seen by some as The Last Stand for Ted Cruz. If he can’t pull off a crushing defeat in the Hoosier state tomorrow, it may be difficult to hang on all the way to the second or third vote of a contested GOP convention – although his supporters certainly hope he will.
Ahead of the primary, Cruz picked up the endorsement of Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence – and of course he has the full support of Carly Fiorina as his pick for vice president.
But there’s another high-profile endorsement Cruz hasn’t yet been able to secure – that of his Senate colleague and former rival, Marco Rubio. However, it’s not because Rubio wouldn’t support Cruz. The reasoning is far more complicated, and gives a bit of insight into the political gamesmanship being played out before our eyes.
According to Politico, Rubio will only endorse Cruz if there’s a contested convention – meaning if Donald Trump doesn’t secure the nomination on the first vote.
Immediately after Rubio dropped out of the presidential contest following his home state loss March 15, the Florida senator told supporters he would endorse Cruz under two conditions: if the Texas senator wanted the endorsement and if it would make a difference. But Rubio came to believe that neither Cruz nor he would really gain from an endorsement so far.
Rubio has already helped Cruz by renting him his fundraising list, calling him “the only conservative left in the race,” withdrawing his name from the primary ballot in select states so as not to siphon votes from Cruz and petitioning to hang on to some of the 171 delegates he won to keep them from going to Donald Trump.
Just as those maneuvers helped Cruz or weakened Trump’s prospects, Rubio is likely waiting for a contested Republican National Convention to make his next big move.
“Marco has significant political capital: his delegates, the delegates he won and those delegates who would show up at the convention and, when unbound from another candidate, would listen to what Rubio would say,” said one Rubio insider.
“Marco wants Donald to lose. If he thought his endorsement would help in California or in Indiana, which it won’t, then he would probably do it,” the source said. “But what Marco isn’t going to do is just endorse Ted, watch Trump win anyway and then, in four years, watch Cruz use Marco’s endorsement against him if they both run for president again,” the source said.
“A lot of our donors haven’t done much for Cruz because they don’t really see him winning anyway,” another Rubio insider said. “Many of them don’t really like him.
But it’s not as if Rubio and his supporters want Cruz to lose this year; quite the opposite.
“Trust me, for us, the best scenario is for Ted Cruz to be the nominee this year,” another top supporter said. “It would knock Trump out. Then Cruz would run against Hillary and get slaughtered and he won’t be our problem in four years if Marco runs again. And I think he’ll run again.”
It’s amazing, isn’t it? These GOP political insiders have already pretty much decided Hillary is going to be the nominee and will win the general election – whether Trump is the nominee or not. How’s that for a winning attitude? We’re six months away from Election Day and as far as they’re concerned, we might as well pack it up and starting thinking about 2020.
Talk about swinging for the fences…
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]