WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — Billionaire Donald Trump crushed home state Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) here with a nearly 20-point victory over who he’s called “Little Marco” in recent weeks, according to election results from the state.
Trump’s astounding victory could be felt in the jubilation among his campaign staff here at Mar-A-Lago, Trump’s West Palm Beach luxury golf resort, as he readies himself for another post-election-results press conference.
The crushing defeat for the pro-amnesty Rubio, the chief pitchman for the Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)-constructed “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill, is a deathly blow to the donor class agenda of more immigration and open borders trade policy. Rubio’s stunning defeat comes after weeks of his team—and himself—reassuring uneasy billionaire backers and supporters he would undoubtedly win the Sunshine State. Rubio even said on Monday, the day before the same voters who sent him to the U.S. Senate summarily rejected his plea for a promotion, he would shock the world on Tuesday. In actuality, he failed entirely.
This also means now that Rubio, who said he believes that the nominee of the GOP in the national presidential election will be the winner of the Florida GOP primary, thinks the 2016 nominee for the GOP will be Donald Trump.
“I believe with all my heart that the winner of the Florida primary next Tuesday will be the nominee of the Republican primary,” Rubio said last week.
On the other hand, Trump won Florida’s plum prize of 99 delegates easily. The surprise victory over Rubio here—something GOP insiders surely thought would be impossible months ago—comes as both Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have had decent performances in their home states but have struggled elsewhere in the country.
As polls closed in the Buckeye State on Tuesday evening, it was still too close to call in Kasich’s Ohio but exit polls show the governor has an edge—and while Cruz won Texas a couple weeks ago on March 1, and has won a handful of other states with it throughout the core heartland of the country—no candidate save for Trump has been able to build such a diverse selection of state victories and such a broad coalition of voters inside the GOP, and among independents and crossover Democrats.
Cruz’s factional nature, and Kasich’s inability to mount a serious national campaign outside his home state, are sure to propel Trump higher and higher as the only Republican who can unify the party and defeat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the general election moving forward. Sure, anti-Trump forces within the party are still trying anything and everything they can to desperately aim to slow the train-like momentum of Trump’s ascension down, but they’re running out of options as the battle heads into a dog fight for delegates between Cruz and Kasich and Trump in the next stages of battle. Every establishment effort to coalesce behind anyone to stop Trump—whether it be former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal or now Rubio—has utterly and absolutely failed. Now the Washington establishment seems to be aiming to coalesce next behind Kasich and then lastly behind Cruz in their efforts to maintain control over the populace, and it remains to be seen if these last ditch efforts will be even close to successful or if they will fail just like every other fight.
That being said, given the map coming up—and the desperation of Washington establishment politicians in the Republican Party—it seems that despite Trump’s resounding win in Florida over Rubio that Trump and his GOP establishment enemies lining up behind Cruz and Kasich are in for a long, protracted battle that could carry well into May, June or even lead to a contested GOP convention in July.