The Miami Herald
By Patricia Mazzei
March 15, 2016
Marco Rubio put an end to his collapsing presidential campaign Tuesday after getting battered by Republican front-runner Donald Trump in Rubio’s home state of Florida.
"There’s nothing more you could have done," Rubio reassured dejected supporters gathered in the cramped lobby of Florida International University’s basketball arena. "While we are on the right side, this year we will not be on the winning side."
He blamed the "political establishment" for failing to pay heed to real frustrations from conservative voters. The Florida senator said voters repeatedly showed their complete disregard for politicians, beginning even before the 2010 tea-party wave that got Rubio elected. Yet their concerns went unheard, and their leaders need to do better, he said. "I understand all of these frustrations, and yet when I decided to run for president, I decided to run a campaign that was realistic on all of these challenges," he said.
"From a political standpoint, the easiest thing to have done in this campaign is to jump on all of those anxieties."
In an indirect jab at Trump, Rubio added a plea to the Republican electorate: "I ask the American people: Do not give into the fear."
Rubio congratulated Trump from stage but said he hadn’t spoken to him. Read more
Rubio failed, and not just because of Trump
Stars and Stripes Opinion
By Jonathan Bernstein
March 17, 2016
The 2016 demise of Marco Rubio has been obvious for a while, but it is nevertheless a very big event. He was the Republican Party’s choice. He lost.
Starting last fall, I said he would be the most likely winner. I continued saying that through the early primaries and caucuses. In fact, he seemed on track to win up until his disappointing Super Tuesday on March 1, and even in the days after that I thought he was in fairly good shape — that is, right up until his support collapsed the weekend after Super Tuesday.
Since I have been dead wrong about Rubio, I can’t turn around immediately and tell you why he lost. It’s something all of us who study presidential nominations are going to need to study, and it’s going to take some time, especially for those who believe that strong parties made up of formal organizations and informal networks control their presidential nominations.
Is this year a fluke? A sign that the system has changed? Frankly, I don’t know right now.
But I can run through some reasonable explanations of what happened with Rubio.
1) The party chose a fatally flawed candidate. Some commentators have floated variations of this explanation. One is that Rubio wasn’t appealing to Republican voters. But for most of the contest, Rubio’s favorability scores among Republicans were excellent. Even when he lagged in the horse-race polls, he usually did well when pollsters probed beyond the top vote choice among Republicans.
I’m also skeptical of blaming his position on immigration or his hawkish foreign policy. Both John McCain and Mitt Romney won Republican nominations with problems that were more severe.
A more plausible explanation of Rubio’s weakness is that he choked under pressure. His poor debate before the New Hampshire primary when he repeated a line multiple times, and his debate after Super Tuesday when he got down in the mud with Trump, both appear to have been disasters. Read more