Marco Rubio Suspends GOP Campaign for President
Florida senator ends his campaign after a devastating loss in his home state to Donald Trump
March 15, 2016 8:24 p.m. ET
MIAMI—The collapse of Marco Rubio’s presidential bid represents not just the rejection of a candidate, but also that of the political blueprint embraced by many leading Republicans to reposition the party for future success in an increasingly diverse nation.
The Florida senator, who ended his campaign Tuesday after a devastating loss in his home state to businessman Donald Trump , embodied that dream —young, Hispanic, telegenic—with an inspiring life story. He seemed to have the perfect resume for appealing to Latinos, women and young voters, constituencies deemed vital to winning the White House.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump built on his momentum Tuesday night by winning Florida, among other primaries. During his victory speech, he said it was now time for Republicans to unite behind the "millions" who are coming out to vote. Photo: Getty
Mr. Rubio, in announcing he was suspending his bid, said his candidacy was ill-timed for a year dominated by anger and resentment.
“While we are on the right side, this year we will not be on the winning side,” he said. “While this may not have been the year for a hopeful and optimistic message about our future, I remain hopeful and optimistic about America.”
In the end, Mr. Rubio’s charisma and biography proved a bad fit for the movement of angry voters propelling Mr. Trump and weren’t sufficient to overcome a handful of high-stakes missteps, a bare-bones campaign operation and a failure to build a sturdy base of loyal supporters inside the party.
Now, the party’s establishment faces the prospect of an angry outsider heading the ticket with scant evidence he can attract the sort of diverse electorate that President Barack Obama and the Democrats have been courting with success for more than a decade, forcing Republicans to try to squeeze more votes out of a shrinking white electorate.
“It remains essential for Republicans to figure out how they’re going to connect with Hispanic voters,” said Ari Fleischer, who was spokesman for former President George W. Bush and a co-author of the Republican National Committee report in 2013 that urged GOP candidates to court minorities, women and younger voters. The focus on Mr. Trump, he added, “doesn’t change demographics.”
Mr. Rubio, 44 years old, built his entire campaign around the uplifting story of a first-generation son of Cuban immigrants rising from the middle-class Miami suburbs to the U.S. Senate. He talked about his bartender dad pouring drinks at the back of a hotel ballroom so that one day he could address those same crowds from the stage. On Tuesday, he talked emotionally about his 85-year-old, Cuban-born mother casting a ballot for her son to become the next president.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his presidential campaign on Tuesday after losing his home state primary to Donald Trump. In his concession speech, Rubio criticized the political establishment and said the GOP should never play to "people's fears." Photo: Reuters
“I ask the American people, do not give in to the fear, do not give in to the frustration,” he said Tuesday, in a speech ending his campaign. “We can disagree about public policy. We can disagree about it vibrantly, passionately. But we are a hopeful people.”
Rather than resonating, his messages were drowned out by Mr. Trump, who is generating enormous crowds with his promises to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and levy tariffs on companies that take jobs overseas or countries that adopt uneven trade policies. Those voters have stuck with the celebrity businessman through a steady stream of controversies that would topple any typical politician, as well as the increasingly violent unrest at his rallies.
“Anger and frustration have eclipsed ideology and an upbeat, optimistic and forward-looking agenda,” said Scott Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who ran former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole’s presidential campaign in 1996.
Still, Mr. Rubio wasn’t just a victim of the moment. At key points throughout the campaign, he made missteps and strategic blunders that cost him support.
The most high-profile came in the last debate before the New Hampshire primary, as the Florida senator was gaining ground in the polls, when he failed to parry repeated attacks by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Mr. Rubio tried to stay above the fray, while Mr. Christie repeatedly questioned his use of canned speeches, his record in office and lack of executive experience.
The Florida senator also turned off many Republicans, including some of his supporters, by attacking Mr. Trump personally in a series of debates and campaign stops heading into Super Tuesday on March 1, hinting at one point that the Republican front-runner had urinated on himself during one of the candidates’ debates and at another joking about the size of his hands.
“That was disappointing and might have done him in,” said Jean Truax, 54, a Rubio supporter. “He’s too good for that. He didn’t need to stoop to Trump’s level.”
Further complicating Mr. Rubio’s path to the nomination were more than $40 million in attack ads aimed at him by his rivals and their outside allies, even as they largely ignored Mr. Trump.
Mr. Rubio’s greatest strength also proved something of a liability; despite widespread support throughout the party, he failed to secure the loyal backing of one firm bloc, either the Tea Party activists who propelled him to the Senate or the traditional party leadership.
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As the field shrank, rivals increasingly painted him as the so-called “establishment” pick, a traditional politician who makes deals and embraces nuanced policy positions at a time when Republicans want conviction and clear choices.
No deal was more toxic for Mr. Rubio than the sweeping immigration overhaul he helped craft that would have created a pathway to citizenship for people in the country illegally. From the outset, Mr. Trump and Texas senator Ted Cruz tried to hang that decision around his neck like a millstone, souring the large bloc of the Republican primary electorate who vehemently oppose such “amnesty.”
Mr. Rubio also suffered from not winning, which has the virtuous impact of adding momentum and money. He bows out of the race having won just three contests, in Minnesota, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
When Mr. Rubio officially announced his bid last April, he was still largely overshadowed by his onetime political ally, former Gov. Jeb Bush. As a result, the younger Floridian struggled to raise money because Mr. Bush tapped family ties to monopolize much of the party’s donor class. That forced the Rubio camp to cultivate a new generation of donors—and to run a stripped-down campaign.
For much of the past year, the Rubio team worked out of a cramped townhouse on Capitol Hill, with aides working elbow to elbow as the campaign team expanded. His operation didn't invest the same amount of money in some of the early states as their better-funded rivals—including some of those who didn’t make it to the Iowa caucuses.
Still young for a politician with national aspirations, Mr. Rubio’s future is unclear at this point.
He gave up his Senate seat to focus on his presidential campaign, so he will be out of elected office at the end of the year. He has said he would be happy to pursue life outside politics, but his name is frequently floated as a possible gubernatorial candidate—a prospect complicated by his loss on Tuesday.
And many of his ardent supporters want him to take another run at the White House, maybe even four years from now. “He’ll be back,” said Sandra Bellomo, 69, who turned out to a Rubio event over the weekend in Largo, Fla.
In the closing days of his Florida campaign, Mr. Rubio tried to make amends for his brief detour into personal political attacks, but he didn’t back away from criticizing Mr. Trump, arguing the front-runner’s rhetoric has stirred up dangerous anger.
“The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party, they’re going to leave us a fractured nation,” Mr. Rubio told his cheering supporters on Tuesday night. “America needs a vibrant conservative movement, but one that’s built on principles and on ideas, not on fear, not on anger.”
At times, Mr. Rubio’s final campaign march across the state felt more like a funeral march, with voters turning out to express their appreciation for the candidate—and their frustration that Mr. Trump’s unique blend of celebrity, bombast and populism had stolen the show.
Despite a poor showing in Tuesday's primaries, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz stated that going foward only two campaigns—his and Donald Trump's—have a plausible path to the GOP nomination, despite John Kasich's win in Ohio. Photo: Getty
Hundreds of friends, neighbors and political patrons turned out Monday night to the recreation center in West Miami, near Mr. Rubio’s house, to hear from the Florida senator.
“He’s our voice,” said Mabel Toledo, 55, a neighbor who has followed Mr. Rubio’s career since he ran to be a city commissioner. “He’s from our neighborhood. He’s made us proud.”
At the rally, Mr. Rubio was forced to use a bullhorn to address the crowd because the public address system wasn’t working.
“No matter where I go or what I’ll be, I’ll always be the son of this community,” he told them. “You and I happen to live in the one place on earth where even the son of a bartender and maid from West Miami can become president.”
And then he did something he hadn’t done much since announcing his campaign: He delivered the speech again, this time in Spanish.
Marco Rubio Suspends 2016 Presidential Campaign
By PAOLA CHAVEZVERONICA STRACQUALURSI INES DELACUETARA
Mar 15, 2016, 8:23 PM ET
Marco Rubio announced he is suspending his 2016 presidential campaign on Tuesday night after a projected loss in the Florida primary.
Despite pre-primary polls that showed him trailing Donald Trump in the state, which he represents in the U.S. Senate, Rubio predicted he would “shock the country” and win Florida’s 99 delegates.
That did not happen. ABC News projected Trump will win Florida's GOP primary, based on analysis of the vote.
"After tonight, it is clear that while we are on the right side, this year, we will not be on the winning side," Rubio told supporters in Miami.
In the final days of his campaign, Rubio emerged as one of Trump’s staunchest critics, attacking the GOP frontrunner’s rhetoric and record while mocking his tan and the size of his hands.
“The Republican Party is not going to allow itself to be hijacked by fake conservatives and people who go around dividing us against each other,” he said at a campaign stop in the Sunshine State on Monday.
And he echoed some of those points in his speech tonight.
"The politics of resentment against other people will not just leave us a fractured party, they're going to leave us a fractured nation," he said. "They're going to leave us as a nation where people literally hate each other because they have different political opinions."
In recent days, Rubio acknowledged regrets about his own change in tone on the campaign trail, but argued the brash New York billionaire needed a “taste of his own medicine.”
Rubio had a mixed record during the primary season, winning only three primaries outright: Minnesota, Puerto Rico and, most recently, the District of Columbia.
The 44-year-old Cuban American politician first announced his candidacy for president April 13, 2015 and throughout the campaign sought to cast himself as the future of the Republican Party.
"And so while it is not god's plan that I be president in 2016 or maybe ever, and while today my campaign is suspended," Rubio said tonight, "the fact that I've even come this far is evidence of how special America truly is."
Pada saat Kasich yg elektabilitasnya minim masih ttp maju, Rubio sudah berhenti nyapres.
Tinggal sisa 2 pemain utama di partai Republikan ini. Trump dan Cruz....
This' gonna be a hell of a political fight