After getting trounced again on Tuesday the Marco-mentum from Sunday’s yuuuge win in Puerto Rico has evaporated for the “future” of the Republican Party. The establishment is reeling after Republican front-runner Donald Trump reasserted himself with big wins in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii and now faces the once unthinkable prospect of both of the chosen candidates – Marco Rubio and John Ellis Bush aka Jeb! – being out of the running. Nobody has been battered by Trump quite like Señor Rubio has and the decision to go negative and hurl around fourth grade little boy’s restroom jokes may go down as one of the greatest strategic blunders in American political history. Now Rubio has been rolled back to the extent that he is having to defend the Hispanic bastion of Miami.
Politico reports that “Marco races to preserve Miami edge”:
Marco Rubio has come home to preserve a shot at the White House or, as he’s calling it these days, “la Casa Blanca.”
As his opponents began racking up fresh wins in contests throughout the country, the Florida senator has retrenched to his roots. Rubio is campaigning more in Spanish, especially in his home county of Miami-Dade, which has 274,000 Hispanic Republicans.
Many speak Spanish as a preferred first language — particularly in Hialeah, the county’s most-Republican city with a 95 percent Hispanic population where Rubio campaigns on Wednesday.
At the same time, a super PAC backing him has been running Spanish-language TV ads and another political committee is advertising on Spanish-language radio with a spot featuring Latin crooner Willy Chirino, an icon in the Cuban exile community that’s the backbone of the Miami-area’s Republican Party.
“We can make history when Marco Rubio arrives at the White House,” Chirino says in the ad. “Marco fills us with pride and he takes with him our yearnings and dreams.”
Rubio’s campaign in the past week has begun targeting Hispanic Republicans in three specially identified sectors of the county to vote early in person or with vote-by-mail ballots. And they are voting at relatively high rates now.
As he was winning the Puerto Rico primary, Rubio was back in Miami Sunday, where he gave three interviews in English and three in Spanish. Cruz is far-less fluent in his father’s native tongue, though he challenged Rubio on the debate stage in serviceable Spanish when the Florida senator questioned his ability to understand the language.
Because Spanish is the lingua franca of so many Republicans in the county, Rubio – a one-time pundit for Spanish-language Univision – has jokingly pledged to bring Cuban culture to the presidency, like a “caja China,” a pork-roasting barbecue box used.
“¡Vamos a llevar una caja China a la Casa Blanca! (“We will bring a caja china to the White House”)!” he said in his West Miami hometown in December to wild cheers. He pledged to have a “cafetera” — a stovetop coffee-making pot used to make Cuban espresso. A month later, at another Miami event, Rubio said in English: “There will be Bustelo in the White House! And a caja china for Christmas! And dominoes on Friday night. A presidential humidor!”
The recent burst of Spanish-language campaigning and renewed focus on Miami-Dade has pleasantly surprised those who feared Rubio hadn’t been doing enough early on to turn out voters.
“Rubio’s internal polling must show he needs a big Miami turnout to have a shot at this,” said Sasha Tirador, a Miami-Dade Republican political consultant who favored Bush but now backs Rubio. “Who would have thought the road to the White House for Marco would run through Hialeah?”
It seems like an eternity since the Rubio campaign’s ballyhooed launch at the symbolic Freedom Tower in Miami and now the city fittingly represents his last stand. Rubio has so much riding on the Sunshine State that according to a CNN report some advisers have implored him to get out of the race now lest he run the risk of being turned into road kill by the Trump express next Tuesday. A loss in his home state would be devastating to Prince Marco and his team fears that such a thing could severely damage his political aspirations in the future. But hey, he can always get elected as dog catcher in Miami no matter how badly that he is drubbed elsewhere.
A just released CNN/ORC poll shows Trump continuing to lead Rubio in Florida – by a lot.