Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio will be named the Republican presidential ticket at the GOP Convention in Cleveland on July 18, 2016. You read it here first. Mark it down. Bet on it. Take it to the bank. And most of all, if I’m wrong, forget I said it. Currently, Vegas odds give Fiorina a one in 10,000 chance of being our next President. So what makes me put my money on Fiorina and Rubio? Let’s count the reasons.
1. We can narrow the field from 17 to seven. There are 17 candidates in the Republican primary. By process of elimination, we can eliminate the other 15. Let’s start with those polling under five percent. The Rasmussen poll released August 11 puts the following candidates at under five percent: Paul (4%), Kasich (4%), Christie (4%), Huckabee (3%), Perry (1%), Santorum (1%), Jindal (1%), Graham (1%), Pataki (0%), and Gilmore (0%). That leaves seven standing: Trump (17%), Bush (10%), Rubio (10%), Walker (9%), Fiorina (9%), Carson (8%), and Cruz (7%).
2. Donald Trump won’t win the nomination. The “We’re mad and can’t take it anymore” camp is firmly behind Mr. Trump. That accounts for about 20-25 percent of the primary voters. When the field whittles down to five candidates, Trump’s numbers will no longer dominate. He has hit a ceiling. After the first five or six states vote, most of the candidates will drop out. Their support will go to candidates not named Trump.
3. Bush, Walker, Carson, and Cruz won’t win, either. Walker will fade after he loses Iowa. Carson will fade due to lack of energy, specifics on foreign policy, and his tax plan. That leaves the two most likely challengers to Fiorina and Rubio: Cruz and Bush. I say the support of the other candidates who drop out will shift to Rubio, not Cruz. While their positions, Tea Party support, and conservative credentials are similar, Rubio will outlast the Texas Senator because a) he has a more likeable persona, b) he will appeal to the younger voters, c) he has a more positive way about him, d) he brings Florida into the calculus, and e) he will connect better with minorities. As for Governor Bush, his money and positions will take him a long way. But in the end, he will fall short for three reasons: a) he will continue to make misstatements, b) his misstatements will be highlighted by the Clinton team and national media, and c) the anti-establishment vote that had been going to Trump, Huckabee, Perry, Jindal, Graham, Carson, and Cruz will not identify with Bush. That leaves two candidates standing: Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina.
4. Here’s the case for Marco Rubio. I’ll be brief and specific. First, the more attractive candidate usually wins. Second, Rubio seems positive and people like that. Third, he has crossover appeal among the Tea Party, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and the establishment. Fourth, he puts Florida in the “likely” column for the Republican ticket. Fifth, he has a compelling personal story, as the son of Cuban immigrants, an everyday man who just paid off his student loans four years ago, and the kind of guy you’d want to sit down with and have a root beer.
5. Here’s the case for Carly Fiorina. One casino in Las Vegas is giving 10,000 to one odds on Fiorina becoming our next President. Take those odds! Here’s why. First, she is the best debater in the field, even better than Ted Cruz. Second, she has honed a specific set of proposals that will come across well once the field is down to five or six. Third, Fiorina takes away the Clinton argument about the Republican “war on women.” Fourth, the more voters see Fiorina on stage, the more they will salivate over the notion of a Fiorina – Clinton debate in the Fall of 2016. Fifth, she is an outsider, at a time when “outsider” is “in.” Sixth, she has the money for a long run, unlike candidates with a similar appeal – Perry, Huckabee, and Kasich.
6. The case for Fiorina/Rubio together. As a team, they will appeal to women, younger voters, minorities, Florida, social conservatives, the establishment, the Reagan “morning in America” crowd, veterans, and outsiders. The more Americans meet Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio, the more they will like them. You won’t read this anywhere else. You will hear the cases for Trump, Bush, Walker, Kasich, and Cruz. And they all have cases to be made. But in the end, when delegates gather in Cleveland in just under one year, there can be only two candidates on the ticket. Their names will be Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio. Mark it down. Case closed. Done deal. And remember, you read it hear first.