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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Trump acquires Rubio for a favor to be named later

One of the more humorous developments from late last week concerned the many reports of Marco Rubio throwing in with Donald Trump’s campaign, offering his assistance (by speaking at the convention) and continuing to softly deny he will run for reelection to his Florida senate seat.

It was funny not only because of Rubio’s apparent change of heart on Trump, but also due to the reaction of Donald Trump and Marco Rubioformer Marco supporters (who are now #NeverTrump) to the news. Let’s just say there was quite a bit of gnashing of teeth.

As a prime example, Steve Berman of The Resurgent writes, “Marco Rubio at one time was our best hope to stop Donald Trump from stealing the GOP nomination and hijacking the party. Now he’s made it clear that he’s prepared to stand on the deck of the Titanic with the tiny-handed man who bested him…

“Of course, this has always been my nightmare scenario, and now it’s half true. The other half (Rubio as Trump’s VP) is just the tiniest bit closer to reality, and that means I may have to throw up.”

I kind of feel sorry for the poor Rubio people. So full of hope earlier this year only to see their Marco play the Judas and get behind Trump now. How can it be? How can it be?

Then again, it all makes sense now! Marco Rubio is embracing Trump, not because he wants to be Trump’s running mate, but because he’s reconsidering his reelection bid to his Florida senate seat!

The scenario goes like this: Rubio peers into the not-so-distant future, sees himself out of a government job for the first time in forever and wonders what he’s going to do with a new president in office – not him, by the way – and nothing to do but go around and beg for money and talk to people.

Marco loathes the idea of actually doing the grassroots work it would take to build enough conservative support for another potential presidential run in 2020, so he figures being in the Senate for another six (or four) years would be much preferable to sitting on his haunches, stewing about what might have been and watching as the world moves on under a Donald Trump administration.

Not only that, but Rubio – and probably the party presidential nominee, too – figures Trump would have a much better chance of carrying Florida if Rubio is on the ballot along with him this November.

I honestly believe Rubio isn’t interested in being Trump’s VP because there wouldn’t be a lot to gain from it politically. Rubio didn’t run on much of a platform this year, you know, basically just a lot of flowery rhetoric about the “Next American Century,” so he wouldn’t be able to sway things a whole lot in terms of policy from the Old Executive Office Building.

If he were under Trump, I see Rubio fulfilling much more of the traditional role of the vice president – going to funerals and dedicating monuments and national parks. That’s boring. Rubio doesn’t want to be vice president and I don’t think Trump wants him for the job anyway.

But returning to the Senate with a vastly increased profile must be alluring to “Little Marco.” He still would have to compete with the more accomplished and respected specter of fellow presidential candidate Ted Cruz, but as one of 100 senators, Rubio could have just the right amount of anonymity and still try to build some sort of record for his next presidential run.

All of this won’t be possible if he doesn’t return to the Senate.

Meanwhile, Trump desperately needs to win Florida if he’s going to prevail in the Electoral College. Therefore, The Donald figures Rubio would be a lot more useful to his cause by running for reelection. He calls up Marco, tells the Florida senator to say nice things about him to the media and offers his help in the future in whatever Rubio decides to do.

It’s almost as if Trump has offered Rubio a “player to be named later” in a baseball trade, though in politics, it’s more like a favor to be named later.

This is what I think will happen. Rubio will keep his name in the news for the next few weeks, continuing to throw hints about returning to the Senate (after all, why would he continue to do interviews on the subject if he wasn’t at least thinking about it?). Trump will keep on being Trump, welcoming Rubio and any other former detractors back into the Trump tent with open arms.

Trump has already said he thinks Rubio should run for the Senate again.

And then, years later, they’ll negotiate over what “compensation” Rubio should receive for the endorsement gesture now. But only if Trump wins in November…and then we’ll eventually find out how the “favor to be named later” deal really came to pass.

Libertarians choose Johnson and Weld for “dream ticket.” Now what?

Speaking of Florida, while most people were taking a break from politics over the long holiday weekend, the Libertarian Party was busy holding its presidential nominating convention near Disney World in Orlando.

Party members apparently felt the magic in the air and nominated what they consider as their “dream ticket” to take on the less-than-popular Republican and Democrat nominees this fall.

Shane Goldmacher of Politico reports, “Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson seized the Libertarian nomination for president at the party’s national convention this weekend and escaped a hotly contested convention with his hand-picked running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.

“The pair form a political team of two former Republican governors that Johnson declared to be the most formidable third-party ticket in the modern era, one that he promised would thrust Libertarians from the fringe of American politics to ‘major party status’ in a period of widespread mistrust of both the Republican and Democratic parties.”

Not so fast, Gary. Though you may have snuck Weld past the Libertarian faithful because of his fundraising prowess, there’s no sign you’re going to compete with the big boy…and girl… in the fall.

Johnson and Weld will certainly generate excitement early on among some #NeverTrumpers (finally, a Republican I can vote for!) and even a few Bernie Sanders supporters who can stomach the notion of voting for a couple former Republicans who admit they like marijuana and promise to keep their hands off of gay marriage.

But I can’t help but think the love affair with the Libertarians will fade quickly, well ahead of the presidential debates (which they would need a 15% average in polls to qualify for).

It’s true for a few reasons:

First, the Republicans and Democrats are yet to have their own media circuses, sometimes known as conventions. Party members will likely start consolidating behind their nominee after them, if not sooner.

Second, Johnson and Weld won’t draw away many “mainstream” Republicans because those that have already joined with Trump are likely doing so because they want to beat Hillary Clinton. Even if the Libertarians were to gain a little credibility between now and November, I highly doubt there’s anyone who considers them a threat to win the White House.

There just aren’t enough fringe voters to give Libertarians an electoral coalition. If Bob Barr (who certainly would be considered more like a traditional conservative) on the Libertarian ticket wasn’t enough to attract conservatives in great numbers in 2008, I see no reason why gadflies Gary Johnson and Bill Weld would do so this year.

Lastly, there’s no way the Libertarian Party can compete with the ground and data operations of the two big parties. No chance there, folks.

Johnson and Weld just aren’t candidates who would attract much consideration on their own, either, no matter how dissatisfied people might be with the two major party choices. Neither one of them are particularly charismatic. Many Republicans like Trump because he’s all about personality and gives the aura of capability to get things done.

What could you expect from a Johnson/Weld administration? Does anyone know?

Some dreams do come true, but even holding their convention close to the Magic Kingdom likely won’t help the Libertarian Party go very far in this year’s election.

Trump supporters targeting Amish Country in mining for votes

In a campaign cycle where there literally have been no rules, it shouldn’t come as any big surprise that there are forces out there courting votes from…the Amish community.

The deeply religious and traditional Amish disdain excessive contact with the outside world, but apparently some folks figure they’d be a natural constituency for the twice divorced casino owning Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

Katie Glueck of Politico reports, “The Amish don’t read Donald Trump’s tweets, they can’t watch his television appearances and voting is practically against their religion…

“Amish PAC was started by an alum of a pro-Carson super PAC; an ex-Amish donor to that super PAC; and an employee of Gingrich Productions. The group is planning to mount an old-fashioned, billboards-and-newspaper ads effort this summer, designed to encourage Amish people in Pennsylvania and Ohio to turn out for Trump in November.”

I surmise when most people think of the Amish they envision the Harrison Ford movie “Witness” from the mid-eighties, but that’s probably not an accurate picture of the mostly Pennsylvania-based (though Amish are found in pockets in states all throughout the region) conservative community today.

While it’s true the Amish don’t seek to mix a great deal with other cultures, they aren’t nearly as isolationist as is usually depicted in the media. Drive through Amish country and stop in at one of their “Authentic Amish furniture” stores and you’ll discover they definitely don’t mind using electricity and modern tools to craft their products and they go out of their way to seek business from outsiders.

I didn’t see any horses and buggies outside the store, either.

The Amish don’t drive cars, but the related Mennonite community does. Some embrace the strict traditional customs. Others don’t. It’s not fair to lump all of them into a group because clearly some participate in the political process and some still refuse.

One factor in Trump’s favor in the region is Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s radically far-left positions on social issues as well as her firm belief in punishing taxes on business are in direct contrast with those of the Amish. The Amish honor smart business people and don’t appreciate excessive oversight from central authority.

They recognize that’s precisely what they’ll get with a Hillary administration.

So it’s hard to say how much success Trump’s PAC groups will have in reaching the reclusive Amish people. I doubt the Amish will swap their plain black hats for a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, but if the Trump people are able to muster a few thousand extra votes in a couple key states it could make a difference in not only the presidential race, but also in congressional and senate contests.

Every vote counts in this election, for sure.

Poll shocker: Americans aren’t big fans of either the Republicans or Democrats.

Finally today, we didn’t need a plethora of reports on this past weekend’s Libertarian Party convention to know there’s a great deal of angst among the American people concerning the two major parties.

But a new poll reveals that Americans’ distrust goes a lot deeper than many of us may have realized.

Rebecca Savransky of The Hill reports, “Voters feel disconnected from their parties and helpless about the presidential election, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

“According to the poll released Monday, just 12 percent of Republicans think the GOP is very responsive to ordinary voters and only 25 percent of Democrats think the same about their party.”

Anyone who is still having trouble explaining the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders need only look at what this survey has to say. If 88 percent of Republicans do not consider their own party as responsive to them, they’ll be looking for a guy who’s as far apart from that organization as possible.

Enter Donald Trump.

As we’ve documented many times in the past, it’s possible Trump isn’t going to do things all that differently than most establishment Republicans (keep big government programs, leave entitlements alone, etc.) would do. Ted Cruz would have, but not Trump.

But that doesn’t mean Republicans aren’t hoping Trump will be different. And if he’s smart, Trump will continue putting distance between him and the establishment. It could only be a good thing in all respects.

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