For a few months now, Jeb Bush's campaign has been insisting that the Jeb! Comeback is on and that the media should get in on the ground floor of this amazing narrative. The media, however, has decided that a comeback for Marco Rubio is on, and that Jeb Bush should get on the ground floor of this amazing narrative. What will happen to Jeb Bush if the only regular column documenting his comeback switches to covering Marco Rubio's comeback? Let's find out!.
Way, way back in December 2014, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky asked a question that, at the time, no one could really answer: "Can Marco Rubio even win a primary?"
How often does it happen that a presumed front-runner can lose the first four contests and stay in the race? On the Republican side, it’s never happened.
The opposite—a presumed front-runner blowing off or losing the first few because he’s going to make a roaring comeback starting in state X—never seems to work out.
At the time, Rubio was trailing in the polls in all four of the early state contests, so it was worth asking. Now, however, he ... well, he's lost two contests and is trailing badly in the other two. But guess what! The Florida senator is winning the political pundit primary, much to the disappointment of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, because that was supposed to be the primary Bush and all his super PAC money was going to win.
Instead, it's going to Marco. As Igor Bobic reported earlier:
Everyone loves a comeback, but the media has been predicting a Rubio surge for months, even before his disappointing third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses and even worse fifth-place showing in the New Hampshire primary. That narrative has continued, although Texas Sen. Ted Cruz appears to be seeing a bigger surge in the polls ahead of the South Carolina race.
If Rubio has a saving grace, it is the press.
You see, it's called "Marcomentum" (#marcomentum!) and the Rubio campaign even got a physicist to debase himself endorse this idea, scientifically. Take it away, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner:
And there you have it! Marco Rubio is an unstoppable force because he got some endorsements and is drawing crowds and this is physics now. Is there anything Jeb can do to stop all the Marcomentum?
Whoa, whoa, hold up, Jeb! Don't go using your gun to stop #marcomentum, especially if you have your name engraved on it! Instead, take comfort in the fact that the third-place finish Rubio is hoping his comeback gets him will net him precisely the same number of delegates that a second-, fourth-, or fifth-place finisher in South Carolina will accrue: zero.
Ha, yes, that's the one thing that's been forgotten in the race to get Marco Rubio a comeback narrative: The South Carolina primary is winner-take-all. So sorry!
This has been the Jeb! Comeback Watch for Feb. 16. Jeb Bush finished in sixth place in Iowa (2.8 percent), and fourth in New Hampshire (11 percent). He is currently in fourth place in South Carolina polls (9.2 percent), and in fifth place nationally (5.3 percent).
Jason Linkins edits "Eat The Press" for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost politics podcast, "So, That Happened." Subscribe here. Listen to the latest episode below.