The OZY ‘Hunger Games’: The End of Marco-mentum

The OZY ‘Hunger Games’: The End of Marco-mentum

By Sean Braswell


Because those pesky voters never seem to go for the candidates they are supposed to go for.

By Sean Braswell

Remember how The Hunger Games would honor its fallen tributes? In this occasional series, OZY predicts which presidential candidates will be the next to fall — whether they know it or not. Earlier this week, we predicted Sen. Marco Rubio would be the next to fall…

Your victory lap is finally over, Senator Rubio. Sure, Bill Clinton called himself “the comeback kid,” Michael Dukakis awarded himself the bronze in Iowa and a struggling Ronald Reagan had to go before the cameras more than once in 1976 to express how “delighted” he was with not winning, but you perfected the art of proclaiming victory from the jaws of defeat.  

Yet just declaring victory is not enough, and when “Mega Tuesday” results came in tonight, there was no way to sugarcoat it, no place to hide when the avalanche of losing 20-plus contests finally arrived on your doorstep in Florida. (Even Walter Mondale managed to win his home state). And even if you had received a Sunshine State miracle, you were a distant third in delegates and would have had to run the table the rest of the way in the hopes that your party’s convention would have supported the man whom voters in only three contests (and just one state) — Minnesota, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia — had seen fit to support. Here in Florida the once great Marco-mentum, even if it was merely as fanciful as your quasi-victories, finally came to an end. (Your campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment on its demise).

Let’s dispel with this fiction that Republican voters don’t know what they’re doing.

In many ways, you — a fresh-faced, fortysomething rookie senator — were the second coming of the man whom you decried more than any other on the campaign trail: Barack Obama. And it was your well-rehearsed (perhaps too well-rehearsed) disdain for the president that helped prove part of your undoing. All politicians repeat themselves — it’s what they do — but your insistence on countering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s full-frontal assault on your “memorized 30-second speeches” by repeating the same memorized 30-second speech was one of those rare, defining campaign moments when a candidate lives out a self-parody far worse than any comedy writer could dream up.

Still, Repeatgate is just one of many “if only” thought bubbles hovering over your fateful campaign. If only Jeb Bush had not soaked up Florida donors and influencers early on. If only Bush, John Kasich and other candidates had cleared out of the establishment lane sooner. If only Donald Trump didn’t suck up all the media oxygen in every room he entered — and if only he hadn’t baited you into a junior high donnybrook over what The New York Times summarized as “makeup hygiene, facial secretions, hand size, tanning methods, potty failures and other plumbing-related things.”

For the mega-donors, party insiders and campaign reporters who lived and died on your prospects — your true base, as it turns out — it had been a roller-coaster ride of “what ifs” and “what nows.” But all the brouhaha over the insults and the innuendo may have in fact spared your record some of the scrutiny it might have received in a more normal election cycle. When your former opponent Rick Santorum endorsed you last month, he had an abysmal time naming any of your accomplishments in the Senate (apparently blocking your own judicial nominee doesn’t count). Perhaps this is because of your abysmal attendance record. In another one of his finer debate moments at your expense, Christie said of your Senate-worst 35 percent absence rate last year, “That’s not leadership; that’s truancy.”

“He hates it,” one of your friends told The Washington Post about your feelings toward the Senate. Which is perhaps why you are not planning on going back there, having chosen not to seek reelection this year in your bid to win the presidency. What comes next then? It’s hard to say other than that you certainly won’t be on the Trump ticket come November.

But let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Republican voters don’t know what they’re doing. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they are undertaking a systematic effort to change this country. That’s why they are voting for Trump and did not buy into the media’s Marco-mentum. So let’s dispel with this fiction that Republican voters don’t know what they’re doing. They know exactly what they are doing.…

Please raise your bottle of water to the Fallen, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.