I still think there is no room for him in the nomination contest, and it doesn’t make much sense for him to launch a bid that has no realistic chance of succeeding. But just as a Romney candidacy would siphon off support from Bush, a Rubio candidacy would also pull away some votes from Bush, because they appeal to the same kinds of voters and donors. All of that makes it more likely that an insurgent candidate may be able to sneak through and win the nomination, and it further splits the hawkish vote.
Jazz Shaw confesses “to being a least a little surprised by this”:
The longer Rubio waited, the more I thought he might just decide to give this a pass. He’ll be all of 45 years old when the next president is sworn in, and even if it’s a Republican who serves two terms, he’ll still be in his early fifties for the 2024 election. He would have plenty of time to season himself and let the current crop of heavy hitters beat each other up.
Waldman thinks Rubio is running for VP:
[W]hat if the whole idea is for Rubio to be this election’s John Edwards? He runs a respectable presidential campaign, being careful not to be too mean to the guy who wins, and then he gets chosen as that person’s running mate. After all, he must know that he’d be a terrific VP pick. Youthful, Hispanic, from a key swing state—it’s hard to think of a Republican who checks more boxes. So while he may have only a 20 percent chance of getting the nomination, he’s probably got a 50 percent chance of being the running mate.
Cillizza declares that “a near-certainty that the 2016 field will be the biggest in modern history of Republican nominating fights”:
The biggest impact will be on fundraising. A race with Jeb, Romney, Christie, Walker and Rubio would put enormous pressure on the party’s major donor class to choose sides among candidates they know and like. And, although the party establishment and its major donors have lots and lots of money — it’s by far the biggest money pot on the GOP side — it’s hard to see all five of those candidates being able to raise the $75 million or more each probably needs to run a serious campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond.
Jennifer Rubin, who takes Rubio seriously, admits that “the race may become a multi-car pileup in which candidates pilfer each other’s donors and bases of support”:
In any event, the race will be engrossing and unpredictable. Execution — the candidates’ ability to raise money, avoid errors, project gravitas and stand out in a cluttered field — is likely to decide the race. Wow, what a battle we are about to witness.