Marco Rubio is almost certainly not going to come out of Super Tuesday a winner. This isn’t really in dispute, even by the people who work for him, who today explained to their most important funders that the Rubio campaign isn’t planning on winning any Super Tuesday states, or maybe even any states at all, ever.
Politco’s Anna Palmer has the story about meetings held by “top campaign advisor” Terry Sullivan in Washington today for “roughly 40 bundlers and K Streeters.” In those meetings, per Palmer, Sullivan showed a Powerpoint presentation to the GOP moneymen describing in exact detail how and why Marco Rubio is unlikely to rack up a significant number of delegates for a good long while. Palmer reports that Sullivan claimed Rubio may win roughly 100 of the 595 delegates available tonight, an estimation that the campaign is revealing on purpose:
Several sources familiar with the meeting described it as an exercise in lowering expectations for how well Rubio needs to do in order to stay in the race for the White House.
“The pressure is going to be so great in April and May, and they feel like they are committed to working in the trenches,” said one Rubio bundler who attended the meeting.
The math isn’t going to be on Marco Rubio’s side tonight, so the best his campaign can do is set the bar so low that the campaign can’t help but step over it in their inexorable march forward. This was a strategy most recently employed by John Kasich in South Carolina, who joked that his campaign was expecting “maybe two or three votes” there. Haha!
Rubio has been making this spin happen publicly. On Good Morning America after the Nevada caucus he said that candidates don’t even “have to start winning states” until March 15, which coincidentally, is when his home state of Florida will go to the polls.
A skeptic may point out that Donald Trump is currently up something like 15 or 20 points in Florida. According to Palmer, Sullivan told his audiences this morning that Rubio will win Florida after he secures the endorsement of Jeb Bush, who is a person nobody likes. But even so, it still may not matter, as the Rubio campaign seems to be betting on the Republican party splintering away from Trump during a chaotic brokered convention in which Rubio, a zero-time winner, somehow emerges from the rubble with the American flag in hand.
Rubio in gaggle: "You’re gonna see very clearly after tonight that Trump has no chance of ever getting the delegates he needs" to be the nom— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) March 1, 2016
“It was a presentation that defied reality,” said one Rubio backer. “They said their convention strategy was not contingent on winning any states... Even if you go to the [second ballot] why would anyone say Marco Rubio is the guy to give it to?”
Marco Rubio is not going to be president.