A new hope?

Marco Rubio. Even if you’ve been following the 2016 election, you could be forgiven for not quite knowing who he was a few weeks ago. After all, in a large Republican field containing heavyweight personalities like Donald Trump it’s difficult to get a good glimpse of anyone else. If you don’t know who he is now then something’s gone wrong. He already had two fairly skillful yet low key performances in debates. There was hushed praise for him but it was overshadowed by bombastic remarks made by Trump and sparring between Rand Paul and Chris Christie.

The third debate which took place last Wednesday was not a repeat of the last two for Rubio. As eloquent as ever, this time his performance was amplified by parrying a criticism hurled at him by his former political mentor, Jeb Bush. It was certainly premeditated, with Bush criticizing Rubio for his poor turnout when it came to voting in the Senate. In fact, he has the worst attendance record out of any senator this year.

Rubio replied by saying the following to roaring applause:

The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position…and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you. My campaign is going to be about the future of America, it’s not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage.

While Donald Trump and Ben Carson continue to lead the pack of Republicans running, most people noticed how the focus shifted from these two in the debate to the characters which are closer to the ‘establishment’, namely Rubio and Bush. The latter has now found himself in a dire situation with little hope of reclaiming his once high figures. Rubio, on the other hand has consolidated himself at 3ʳᵈ place, polling close to double figures. This (very significantly) makes Rubio the new establishment front runner, with billionaire Paul Singer  swiftly donating to his campaign. This, it seems, is just the beginning.

As illustrated above, Rubio has also done an excellent job of maintaining an attractive appearance not only to the Tea Party wing of the party, but also to the youth demographic which traditionally wavers toward the Democrats. Not many other Republicans have managed to achieve that delicate balance. Generally his composure is such that he seems as well, or perhaps even more rehearsed than Hillary Clinton which in this instance is to his credit. Since 1976 (with the exception of 2004), the Republican Presidential candidate has always been older than the Democratic one and so Rubio winning the Republican nomination would make many people reconsider just what the Republican Party is and whether it is a party with fresh ideas and youthful vigour; among many it could be giving the party a second chance and even voting for him.

Furthermore, Rubio might just be the GOP’s best bet at recapturing more of the Hispanic vote. Mitt Romney only managed a measly 23% back in 2012. A Trump run would mean that this figure would slump even lower, considering his infamous ‘rapist’ allegations towards Mexicans, among many other things. While Rubio’s attempt at immigration reform failed, his attempt at bipartisanship is one which I think will not go unnoticed and something that falls in his favour. His story as the son of immigrants and his decision to also conduct interviews in Spanish suggests that he could expect more than 23% or the Hispanic vote in an election.

If the Trump and Carson campaigns eventually run out of steam as voters look towards someone with more credibility, then it is almost certainly Marco Rubio who will be the Republican candidate for 2016. I think on balance he offers the party its best chance of reclaiming the presidency, whether it be for better or worse.

Agree? Disagree? Drop a comment below!

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Don Royster says:

    I agree that Rubio’s star is rising. But it seems to me from his Senate record he is a light weight. To paraphrase, I can see Rubio saying, “I may not be a Senator but I play one on tv.” It’s not just this year that he has a low attendance. Look at 2015 and before. In addition, he has the same problem many Republicans criticize President Obama for. He is a first term Senator who really has had very little impact in the Senate. The Republicans look at Rubio and they see Kennedy. But John Kennedy had more experience in Congress. As far as the Hispanic vote, not all Hispanics are the same. Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans usually vote Democratic while Rubio’s appeal is to Cuban-Americans. To believe all Hispanics vote the same way en masse is like saying Americans of Irish descent are going to vote the same way as Americans of English descent. Ain’t necessarily so. But I do seeing that Rubio is probably the Republicans’ best hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Adi says:

      You’re right, he doesn’t have much experience in politics but comparatively speaking he can claim to understand it all better than Trump, Fiorina and Carson who rely on other accomplishments. But it’s true, he still has a massive mountain to climb.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris says:

    I think Rubio is the more moderate of the Republican conservatives but he’s not libertarian enough for my tastes. I would be well on board with a Paul/Rubio ticket; although I’d be happier with a Gary Johnson/Rand Paul ticket.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adi says:

      It’s a shame that the Libertarian party isn’t bigger enough; I wish America wasn’t dominated by two parties. I’d associate more as a Libertarian myself and like you I’m concerned that the candidate the Republicans will choose will not be to my liking – looks like we’re on the same page with Rand Paul too, I like him!

      Like

  3. Bill Smythe says:

    If you accept the base premise that to win the WH you need to win 2 of 3 states – PA , FL or OH then Rubio is a option as is Bush. However, if you noticed the real adult on the stage Kasich then you pair Rubio with him and you effectively get your needed two states. It also sets Rubio up for the future. Now had Romney picked Rubio in 2012 instead of Ryan I think he would be POTUS now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adi says:

      Kasich would win Ohio and Rubio probably Florida, you’re right. I’m not sure with Bush though. His campaign has really begun to wane and I think he would maybe drop Florida. I think Ryan was a poor decision but I don’t know if Rubio would have been much better. Then again, I think anything at that point would have been an improvement from Sarah Palin.

      Like

      1. Bill Smythe says:

        Palin was McCains VP pick. Paul Ryan was Romney’s. I merely noted the potential Hispanic pickup if Rubio had been on the ticket ( you reference the GOP’s poor performance with them) over Ryan who didn’t even help Romney win Wisconsin.

        Like

  4. Kirk says:

    Can you name a successful Libertarian country anywhere in the world. How about throughout history? Has there ever been one? You guys are aware that the US tried it and it failed miserably, you know that right? We dumped it after only 12 years and acknowledged it to be a disaster.

    As a Floridian I can tell you Rubio is not very well liked here. He has been a major disappointment. That being said he has the best chances of any of the Republicans which, in this election, is not very good.

    Like

    1. Adi says:

      I’m not quite sure what 12 years you’re talking about, but if it’s 1981-93 then I’d make the point that that era was far from disastrous. Do correct me if I’m wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My greatest fear is the Republican Party as a whole. If they are going to continue their in-fighting then we may as well simply prepare for another Democratic President. Had they played their cards right, they could have created a formidable front. Sadly, I think we have no viable option to defeat the opposition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adi says:

      They really have shot themselves in the foot.

      Like

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