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February 22, 2016

Time for Rubio-Kasich?

That’s what some prognosticators say.

With each passing primary (or caucus) and each successive win by Donald Trump, time is running out for the other candidates to stop his momentum. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio seem to be the only two with any hope of derailing the Trump Train, but either one is going to need help. If it’s Rubio, some are suggesting an alliance with John Kasich. Political analysts Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley write:

> Now that Bush is out, Rubio might want to consider a daring gambit — openly offering Kasich the vice presidential slot in exchange for the Ohio governor’s support. (Ronald Reagan did something similar much later in his 1976 campaign, right before the Republican convention, and while it didn’t work out, Reagan shook up conventional wisdom. It is a tactic worth considering.) If Rubio can somehow push Kasich out after Bush’s exit, it seems reasonable to think that the lion’s share of their supporters would go to him, and in a three-way race, that could be enough for Rubio to start getting the victories he has failed to secure so far. However, Kasich seems inclined to continue to run, and the Republican power brokers who favor a Rubio-Kasich ticket probably won’t take the risks necessary to make this happen.

It’s also true that a Florida-Ohio alliance would prove beneficial in the general election. But the big concern here is that, with Jeb Bush gone, Rubio is already considered the “establishment pick” — never mind his nearly impeccable conservative credentials or Tea Party win in 2010. Kasich has appealed for establishment backing, and in terms of his experience and political stripes, it’s a better fit than Rubio. But perception can be powerful, and if two “establishment” guys unite the clans to take on Trump, it’s not exactly going to win over voters who are most angry with the establishment. That almost surely blunts any benefit Rubio would gain in Ohio, and makes this alliance an unlikely one.

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