Conservatives have been most concerned about Marco Rubio for some time. If Ted Cruz is the choice of the conservative lane and one can assume that someone in the moderate lane will emerge, most have put their money on Rubio. This is changing. New Jersey governor Chris Christie is becoming more and more likely to be the Republican Establishment’s candidate of choice and that should concern conservatives across the country.
Despite his weakness on the campaign trail and tendencies towards bending for the sake of political expediency, Rubio has still espoused mostly conservative principles. If it weren’t for his debacle with the Gang of Eight, he would likely be running as a conservative, but that ship sailed. Now, he’s running as a pseudo-conservative willing to be the Republican Establishment’s patsy and that isn’t sitting well with voters. Considering that they’ve gotten their way since 1980, it’s unlikely that the “Washington Cartel” of big government moderate Republicans are going to back a loser, so they’re going to abandon Rubio very soon, possibly before February.
With Jeb Bush and John Kasich becoming non-factors, it falls on Chris Christie to first take Rubio’s supporters, then defeat Cruz head-to-head. That’s shaping up to be the plan. Now the quiet memo has to go out. Expect to see Karl Rove and the Wall Street Journal saying nice things about Christie very soon.
Some might point to his baggage and unpopularity as reasons that he won’t be their choice, and it’s a good point. They see in Rubio a more likable candidate as well as someone with a better history (outside of amnesty) for pulling conservative voters to voting booths for the general election. However, Christie has one thing that Rubio doesn’t have: straight talk. If it weren’t for Donald Trump, Christie would likely be considered the wild card along with Cruz when it comes to the straight talk that the Republican base is craving right now.
In other words, they view Christie as more likely to compete well with Cruz for Trump’s supporters when he falls than Rubio. Some conservatives are starting to realize this.
What Is the Logic In Chris Christie's Attacks On Marco Rubio? https://t.co/v3OfNYssVD
— Connor Q Livingston (@cqlivingston) December 22, 2015
The problem for conservatives is that they’re right. A Trump supporter is much more likely to fall to Christie than to Rubio, so if their goal is to make Trump fall out and beat Cruz as the other finalist for the nomination, they see Christie as a better fit.
If Christie continues to rise in New Hampshire and ends up beating Rubio, expect to see all of the moderates pile onto the Christie Republican Establishment train. It’s a bumpier ride than they had with Mitt Romney or John McCain, but it’s the best ride they have at this point.