Marco Rubio's Presidential Campaign Will Probably Die by Next Week

Marco Rubio can't survive if he doesn't win Florida, where Donald Trump spent the weekend slamming the senator and mimicking Hitler's salute.
Marco Rubio can't survive if he doesn't win Florida, where Donald Trump spent the weekend slamming the senator and mimicking Hitler's salute.

Marco Rubio had a no good, very bad weekend. He's now the de facto establishment candidate, and in the four states voting this past Saturday, he racked up tons of high-profile endorsements. He spent more per vote this weekend than any other candidate on either side of the aisle.

It didn't matter. Rubio got walloped, finishing no higher than third in Kansas, Maine, Louisiana, and Kentucky. In Louisiana and Maine, he didn't even crack the minimum threshold to escape with a few delegates.

Even though he later won Puerto Rico's primary Sunday, this week is still Rubio's final stand. If he pulls off a miracle, wows voters in Thursday's debate in Miami, and walks off with a victory in next Tuesday's winner-take-all Florida primary, he lives to fight another day.

But in all likelihood, Rubio's presidential dream is dead. Florida is just the final nail in the coffin.

Heading into the last week of campaigning before next Tuesday's primary vote, the signs are ominous in Rubio's home state. Trump has been consistently doubling up Marco Rubio in Florida polls

And whatever slight national momentum Rubio might have still been carrying seems to have evaporated. Exiting polling via FiveThirtyEight this weekend in Louisiana shows that Rubio had taken 20 percent of the early vote there but less than 10 percent of those voting on Election Day.

Even worse for Rubio, Trump and Ted Cruz show signs that they've decided Florida is the place to knock the junior senator out of the race. Cruz hasn't campaigned hard in Florida on the assumption that both of his rivals have stronger footholds in the Sunshine State.

But Cruz's super PAC is now taking aim at Rubio in his home state by airing a flurry of attack ads on local TV. Cruz seems to be banking on the fact that a poor showing in Florida would force Marco out of the contest.

Trump, meanwhile, continues to stir up big crowds. In his Trumpian way, he sparked national headlines in Orlando this weekend by demanding that his supporters raise their right hands and promise to back him in the primary. The resulting images looked a bit, um, familiar: 

When not channeling the Führer directly, Trump blustered about torturing terrorists and throwing the Geneva Conventions out the window. Is this what Florida's GOP base wants to hear? 

We'll find out next Tuesday. Rubio has only a week to make his mark in Florida. Maybe he can spark a fire at Thursday's CNN debate at the University of Miami. And a new poll over the weekend did show him slightly closing the gap on Trump. 

But anything less than a win next week will make it mighty hard for Rubio to justify staying in the race.


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