Political strategists who ran the campaigns of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz gave a candid interview to Huffington Post and revealed when they realized their plans to defeat Donald Trump would be useless.
Jeff Roe, campaign manager to Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, said his team realized around Labor Day that their original plan for Cruz’s path to victory would be meaningless.
“So we did 5,000 calls a night from the day we got in the race to the day we got out. We had a continual analytic program. And you could tell from early on that Trump had a floor,” Roe said. “He was always going to have 25 to 30 percent of liberal-to-moderates, he was going to have 25 to 30 percent of somewhat conservatives, he was going to have 25 to 30 percent of very conservatives.”
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s communications director Alex Conant recognized the coming loss after Feb. 23.
“We knew that Trump was going to be strong going into the holidays, but it wasn’t until after he beat us in Nevada that we felt he was more likely than not to be the nominee,” said Conant.
Danny Diaz, campaign manager to Jeb Bush, replied, “Right after Labor Day, we understood that it was going to be a really, really difficult race for us, despite the advantages that we had. It was persistent in the survey work just the level of unhappiness, anger and disaffection among voters.”
Each strategist admitted he did not take Trump seriously in the beginning of the primary campaign season and said that the media did not take him seriously either, so they did not produce “deep dive” investigative stories on the New York billionaire like they did other candidates.
Additionally, the political strategists previously believed that Trump would be snagged in the primaries by one of his over-the-top remarks.
“There was a time when you wondered if the bug was going to meet the windshield or not. But everything was brand-consistent. His brand was being politically incorrect: He’s saying everything that you’ve always wanted to say,” Roe said. “You might not like it, but he’s speaking for you. He’s the billionaire blue-collar guy. That’s why this Mexican judge thing is different. That’s him looking out for himself, instead of him looking out for you.”
Diaz agreed: “What’s different now is the electorate. He’s playing to a much broader field of people than he was in the primaries.”