On the Surface
With fifteen candidates still vying for the nomination, the crowded Republican field makes for a volatile place: candidates’ popularity ebbs and flows with each news cycle. At this point, it seems like it could be anyone’s game. However, one ticket plays most to the Republicans’ strength, and therefore is the most likely: a Kasich-Rubio ticket.
The Viability of Kasich-Rubio
The Kasich-Rubio ticket is the best bet for Republicans (with Kasich as president and Rubio running as VP). Collectively, they represent Ohio and Florida, two enormous swing states; Democrats would sorely miss either one in the general election. Additionally, this ticket marries both maturity and youth. Kasich is an immensely popular governor with over thirty years’ experience; he identifies more as a moderate conservative. Rubio, on the other hand, brings the promise of youth that will certainly be useful to a party trying to shed its image as out-of-step with the modern world. Finally, putting Rubio on the ticket could alleviate some of the damage that’s been done by other candidates (namely Donald Trump) to Republican standing among Latinos, who have historically been a key group group for a winning Democratic bid.
And while Donald Trump currently leads the Republican pack, his lead is sure to vanish as we draw closer to the primaries; Rudy Giuliani fell far further despite being a relatively popular candidate with a wealth of experience. And although it’s true that Trump can self-finance, the Republican party establishment could still change the primary rules to hamstring Trump’s campaign (before Trump declared that he would not run as an independent, North Carolina considered enforcing a rule saying that only candidates who wouldn’t oppose the primary winner could be on the ballot).
So even though many candidates compete for the Republican nomination, the party will most likely stick to its strengths, to the candidates with the most viability and voter appeal. Those two candidates are John Kasich and Marco Rubio.