Ever since two debates ago, Marco Rubio has been positioning himself as the anti-Trump, even embracing the Twitter trend #NeverTrump, a label that many Republicans have taken up in opposition to ever voting for Trump. This label has been embraced by Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Governor Baker of Massachusetts, and former Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney among others.
With such a rift emerging in the Republican Party over the presidential frontrunner’s divisive comments, the party in crisis needed to chart a way forward. Super Saturday might have provided some clarification as Senator Cruz won in Kansas and Maine, where Trump was favored to win along with Kentucky and Louisiana, which Trump managed to hold on to.
Seemingly, the party has decided that Cruz is the anti-Trump, much to the dismay of party elites who dislike the Texas Senator, yielding him zero endorsements from his colleagues in the upper chamber. The question moving forward into an even more unfavorable map for Cruz is whether he will name a more moderate VP in order to gain traction in the crucial Middle Atlantic and Rust Belt states.
Should Cruz fail to play nice with Rubio and Kasich, aiming to consolidate their support behind him, the effort ultimately turns into an effort to block Trump from the needed delegates. Strategic voting then becomes crucial in winner-take-all states in order to take the nomination process to the floor of the convention. By this method, highlighted by Gov. Romney this past week, Rubio should get all non-Trump votes in Florida, Kasich in Ohio, and whoever is polling best besides Trump in the other states.
Failure of the party to vote strategically to block Trump will hand the unhinged businessman the nomination. Trump’s nomination would certainly make the job of getting a Republican in the White House a much more difficult task due to Trump’s clear prejudices and blowhard persona.
Also worth noting is that a Trump nomination changes the calculus of Senate and House races. Many previously safe Republican districts are now expected to be tossups or leaning Democrat if Trump is at the top of the Republican ticket. Losing both chambers of Congress was unthinkable just a year ago, but now it is a reality for the Republican party because the voters are letting fear drive their vote instead of policy and hope.