It’s all relative. That’s been the operating theory of Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, which has confounded both political analysts and the press. And yet Rubio’s team has been firm in its belief that, by under-promising and over-delivering, it can generate the sort of excitement, energy, and yes, actual delegates needed to capture the Republican nomination. They even thought that by notching a strong third-place finish, with over 23 percent of the vote, Rubio would emerge from the Iowa caucuses on Monday evening with more momentum that the winner, Ted Cruz.
That’s why Rubio, who nearly caught the longtime Iowa frontrunner, Donald Trump (who finished just a point ahead of him), walked on stage to deliver a victory speech here in Des Moines on Monday. “This is the moment they said would never happen,” he declared as he took the stage at the Marriott hotel downtown.