The Corner

Politics & Policy

If Rubio Wins and Trump Loses in Florida…

With Election Day looming, Hillary Clinton holds the narrowest of leads in Florida in the RealClearPolitics average, 46.9 percent to 46.7 percent.

Meanwhile, in the Senate race, Marco Rubio leads in the RealClearPolitics average, 49 percent to 45.3 percent.

The two most likely scenarios right now appear to be a modest Rubio win and a narrow Clinton win, or a modest Rubio win and a narrow Trump win.

If Rubio wins and Trump loses in the Sunshine State, will the Florida senator feel a little vindication, that while his style and agenda didn’t appeal to his home state’s Republicans as much as Trump’s did, it appealed more to the electorate as a whole?

Yes, Trump won the Florida Republican Primary overwhelmingly and won every county except for Miami-Dade.

The final margins in Miami-Dade County will be important. This county is the most populous in Florida and the early vote there was huge — 61 percent higher than in 2012, with 475,864 early voters and 287,224 voters by mail. This is a mostly Democratic county, but it also includes Miami’s Little Havana and is Rubio’s home turf. Four years ago, Obama won, 61 percent to 38 percent. The county has 368,395 registered Republicans, as of September.

The early vote in Florida has been gargantuan – 6.4 million voters – and registered Democrats outpace registered Republicans by a small margin, 39.9 percent to 38.5 percent.

The differing courses of Trump and Rubio in Florida encapsulate the problem for Republicans in 2016 in a nutshell: one candidate is more appealing to an all-Republican pool of voters; the other is more appealing to the voter pool as a whole. The voters in the GOP primary didn’t want to pick the candidate(s) who could best appeal to the electorate as a whole.

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