Home/Daniel Larison/A Rubio Bid Is Bad for Rubio and Bush

A Rubio Bid Is Bad for Rubio and Bush

It seems that I was wrong about Rubio staying out of the presidential race:

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is preparing to launch a bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, signing on a prominent fundraiser and planning trips to early voting states, a Rubio adviser said on Friday.

I still think there is no room for him in the nomination contest, and it doesn’t make much sense for him to launch a bid that has no realistic chance of succeeding. But just as a Romney candidacy would siphon off support from Bush, a Rubio candidacy would also pull away some votes from Bush, because they appeal to the same kinds of voters and donors. All of that makes it more likely that an insurgent candidate may be able to sneak through and win the nomination, and it further splits the hawkish vote. Beyond the campaign itself, an unsuccessful Rubio bid over the next year will make it harder in later cycles for his supporters to promote him as the answer to the GOP’s woes. Depending on how long he persists in this bid, he could even jeopardize his chances at re-election.

It doesn’t say much for the strength of Bush’s candidacy that his entry into the race doesn’t seem to have discouraged anyone else from challenging him. But then he was never likely to enjoy the easy march to the nomination that his brother had in 2000, which is why his decision to get into the race still seems so strange. The entry of another Floridian with views that are quite similar, if not identical, to Bush’s can only make the contest more difficult for Bush. Rubio’s candidacy isn’t likely to achieve anything for Rubio, but it could be what trips up Bush and keeps him from winning any early contests.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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