Although the official numbers from Tuesday's Sunshine State vote aren't tallied yet, it appears that Donald Trump won Florida in, as he would say, a huge way. NBC projected Trump to be the winner with 45 percent of the vote. According to NBC, Marco Rubio earned a meek 28 percent, meaning that Trump beat him by double digits in his own home state. And as much as Florida marks yet another feather for Trump to stick in whatever cap is large enough to fit his swollen head, it says more about Rubio. Is Florida the sign that Marco Rubio should drop out?
The concise answer is "Yes, you bet" — though Rubio's camp will almost certainly find a way to spin the crushing loss in Florida and ignore the DayGlo fluorescent writing on the wall. His campaign has already made it clear that he has no intention of quitting the race. Anticipating a loss in Florida, Rubio already said he would be campaigning in Utah "irrespective" of the results in his home state. FiveThirtyEight's David Wasserman wrote of the Florida results for Rubio: "The only good news for Rubio? It doesn’t look like he’s in much danger of coming in third behind Cruz." FiveThirtyEight estimated that Rubio would need to win 211 delegates of the 367 up for grabs on Tuesday. It will be effectively impossible for Rubio to recover from losing Florida, which offers a hefty 99 delegates in a winner-take-all system.
Of course, the numbers may not even be the clearest sign for Rubio to wipe his brow, gulp some water, and exit the GOP race. Losing his home state, and not even coming close to the winner, is not good. If you can't get voters in your own state to support you, then it's hard to convince the rest of the country to do so. Worse, Rubio has failed the Republicans who have been encouraging voters to support him over The Donald (i.e. the Mitt Romney approach). Rubio couldn't win Florida — he couldn't even be a speed bump to Trump.
To add insult to injury, at the time of writing, Kasich is on his way to winning Ohio, providing a stark contrast of home state success that only highlights Rubio's failure. Marcomentum is all but dead. After tonight, it seems that Rubio's campaign demise is not a matter of if, but when.