Marco Rubio's strategy is utterly baffling

Unlike most recent presidential nomination winners, who have invested serious time and effort into campaigning and building organizations in at least one of either Iowa or New Hampshire, Rubio has taken a positively relaxed approach to both. He doesn’t show up very often, doesn’t do much campaigning when he is around, and doesn’t seem to be building very impressive field operations…

The conventional wisdom is that a candidate needs to win either Iowa or New Hampshire to win the nomination. In fact, every nominee for decades has done that, except for Bill Clinton in 1992 (an odd year in which the Iowa caucuses effectively “didn’t count” because Iowan Tom Harkin was running). Candidates who’ve tried to “skip” both early states in hopes that a later win will propel then to prominence have failed miserably.

Furthermore, said conventional wisdom continues, the way to win in both Iowa and New Hampshire is to work hard on the ground. The candidate should spend a lot of time there. The campaign should build up a network of local relationships, winning over supporters one by one. And the campaign should focus on organizing, to identify committed voters and make sure they actually turn out to the polls. (Organizing like this helped power Barack Obama to victory in Iowa in 2008.)

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