If the GOP is being “Trumpified,” it’s certainly happening in a peculiar way. Here are last night’s results from Florida, courtesy of our friends over at DecisionDeskHQ:
Marco Rubio 72.3%
Carlos Beruff 18.5%
Dwight Young 6.1%
Ernie Rivera 3.1%
Marco Rubio, in case you are unaware, was not the Trump-style candidate in the race. He was the sitting senator who backed immigration reform and considers himself a traditional, Reaganesque conservative. He got 72.3 percent of the vote.
Here’s the map:
Rubio’s victory was similar in scale to Paul Ryan’s. Last month, Ryan beat his Trump-style challenge by 70 points, 85 to 15.
That challenger, Paul Nehlen, was backed by Ann Coulter, by the kids at Breitbart, and by almost all of the perpetual-outrage machine that we are told is going to remake the Right. Nehlen got 15 percent of the vote.
Paul Ryan — the Speaker of the House, a Kemp-style Republican, and a softer voice on immigration — got 85.
In Arizona last night, John McCain beat his primary opponent by ten points. McCain was a key member of the “Gang of Eight.” He has a reputation as a “squish.” He has been an elected official since 1982.
Why weren’t these figures swept away? How, in this “climate,” could they possibly have won? Where was the “anger”; the “frustration”; the “revolt”? Back in 2010, the Tea Party became a credible movement because it actually got its candidates nominated — and elected. What, other than benefit briefly from a perfect storm, has the Trump Party done?
It couldn’t be, could it, that celebrity matters? That having two billion dollars in free media matters? That massive fields yield peculiar results? That Trump is . . . sui generis?