A mere six weeks after Marco Rubio dropped out of the race, John Kasich has overtaken him in total votes — the Ohio governor now has 3,677,669 votes to Rubio’s 3,490,758. (Rubio still has more delegates; remember that you can win a lot of votes in a winner-take-all state and get no delegates, or you can win a pile of votes and not meet a state’s minimum threshold for winning any delegates.)
Rubio added another 15,720 or so votes yesterday. On Twitter, someone asked if those votes represented a symbolic gesture, hope for some demonstration of support that pressures the nominee to name Rubio the running mate, hope for a miracle, or people just unaware Rubio suspended his campaign. It’s probably a combination of those, and it is indeed possible that a small demographic out there simply doesn’t realize Rubio isn’t running anymore.
In the summer of 2001, when I was working for a wire service, I was walking down the street in downtown Washington, D.C. when a man asked me for directions to the White House. I pointed him in the right direction, and he said, “I’m going to go see Hillary!” This was about six months after Bill Clinton left office and Hillary Clinton had been elected to the Senate.
I said, “well, you know she’s in the Senate now, so you would have to go to the Capitol Building, which is that way.” He looked at me blankly, as if nothing I had said made sense to him. I was confused by his confusion, so I reiterated, “she’s not the First Lady anymore. She’s in the Senate.” The guy looked at me as if I was nuts, gave a small, thankful nod, and kept walking in the direction of the White House.
As far as I can tell, somehow, some way, this guy had completely missed the 2000 presidential election, and seemed to think Bill Clinton was still president. Perhaps he was amnesiac, or had spent all of 2000 in a coma, because the Bush vs. Gore election and recount was a really big story, even by the standards of presidential elections! So perhaps some voters out there are sufficiently disconnected from the news that they see Rubio’s name on the ballot and think he’s still running.