The story being quietly circulated through back channels is that Marco Rubio is holding onto his unbound delegates through the first ballot to prevent Donald Trump from getting the required votes necessary to achieve a majority and win the nomination outright. This makes a little sense on the surface, but it may speak to a more nefarious plan by the failed GOP Presidential candidate and Senator.
It is, of course, unprecedented and some are questioning his motives:
— Gentry Smith (@GentryQSmith) March 31, 2016
The biggest flaw in Rubio’s story is that unbound delegates seem to favor Ted Cruz over Donald Trump. In fact, it’s through the unbound delegates that Cruz has the best chance of winning the nomination on the first ballot if he’s able to win in Wisconsin and ride the momentum to more states in the future. By holding his delegates, Rubio might be hurting Cruz’s chances more than Trump’s.
Unfortunately, that might be his master plan. It’s a longshot, but Rubio may be trying to come in third on the first ballot if John Kasich drops out and doesn’t hold his delegates. This could lead to a true brokered convention that would compel the RNC to push for a candidate other than Cruz or Trump. It would be disastrous for the party, of course, but there’s a pretty good argument that Rubio is being selfish rather than helping the party and the country.
Time will tell. If Cruz is able to get closer to the nomination than most feel he will, we will watch to see if Rubio then releases his unbound delegates. If he doesn’t, this was never a play to stop Trump. It was a hailmary to try to steal the nomination for himself.