“They have no infrastructure,” said Scott Reed, who is unaffiliated with any campaign but serves as the chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “His campaign hasn’t been able to keep up with his candidacy. . . . They don’t have the operation in the states to help him get over the top. He should be a finalist going all the way to California, and he’s not.”
But Rubio’s game plan ran into reality — the #MarcoMentum strategy, as it’s been dubbed on social media, was covering up massive deficiencies inside the states that were voting. Rubio had little to no infrastructure inside those key states, and each effort began when he was so far behind that momentum meant very little. He ended up a distant third behind Cruz, whose campaign has run a more effective, traditional effort to find supporters and then get them to the polls.
What’s particularly funny about this is that Rubio’s “who needs an actual campaign operation when you have the intarwebs and some ad buys” strategery was already essayed by Newt Gingrich in 2012. Only in Newt’s case at least 1)he was running more of a book tour than a presidential campaign and 2)didn’t have the resources to run a real campaign even if he wanted to. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Rubio was just too lazy to do the hard work Cruz was willing to.
You can see the consequences of Rubio’s choices in this data. Part of what happened on Saturday is explained by voters moving towards Cruz because of the Rubio’s attempt to perform the same murder-suicide on Trump that Christie performed on him. But Rubio had some primaries in which late deciders broke his way and couldn’t capitalize, because Cruz is running a real campaign and hence is much more efficient at getting his voters to the polls. And that’s why Cruz at least has a shot and Rubio doesn’t, even though Rubio is the much more appealing candidate on paper.