When Marco Rubio first announced his candidacy, I refused to support him. I felt that he lacked administrative experience and was not ready to lead the United States. I chose to support Scott Walker instead.
However, I have been convinced that I was wrong. When Walker dropped out of the race, I switched my support to Rubio. Rubio is experienced, equipped, and ready to take on the Democratic nominee and serve with distinction as the next president of America.
To all my friends who are old enough to vote – I urge you to take a second look at Rubio as well. I beg you to learn the truth about him, as well as the other candidates that will be on your ballot. I hope and pray that you will make an informed, logical decision based on the facts, not rhetoric or sound bites.
With that said, here are the reasons why I changed my mind about Rubio.
It is true that Rubio has been slightly lackluster in the primary season so far, sitting in third place. However, he holds significant promise in hypothetical general election scenarios.
Polls have demonstrated that he performs better than any of the Republican candidates, including Trump, in head-to-head matchups against the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Rubio’s performance so far suggests that he will be able to pull off a flawless general election campaign, if nominated. His clear and articulate speaking and sterling track record have already pushed him into the top tier. He has not yet committed any meaningful missteps on the campaign trail. In fact, Rubio has performed so consistently well that some have labelled him a ‘robot.’
Commentators agree that he’s the GOP’s best shot to win the White House and retain the party’s majorities in Congress.
Rubio’s personal integrity is unquestionable.
Although Rubio has been attacked (including by Trump) for alleged misuse of a Florida GOP credit card, an independent state ethics commission cleared Rubio in 2012 of any wrongdoing, finding “no probable cause” for the charges against him. CNN noted that Rubio’s use of the party credit card “wasn’t out of line with Florida Republican leaders’ practices at the time.” To quell the lingering controversy, Rubio recently released large amounts of his financial records to the public.
#3: Consistent conservatism
Rubio’s credentials as a consistent conservative throughout his career are unquestionable.
In comparison, Trump’s track record is shady. It has been overshadowed by extensive donations to Democratic candidates. He’s been caught on the record supporting policies usually considered emblematic of a committed liberal or socialist, including support for a single-payer healthcare system, gay rights, and abortion, including even partial-birth abortion. Rubio has consistently opposed every single one of these.
Rubio’s voting record and public statements clearly demonstrate his strong and consistent conservatism.
At the time of this writing, Heritage Action For America, a conservative group, has awarded Rubio a 94% rating based on his voting record in the current (114th) session of Congress. Based on Heritage Action’s scorecard, Rubio is more conservative than 96% of the Senate. He’s even more conservative than Tea Party icons like Senators Rand Paul and Tom Cotton, and Representatives Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz. He has earned comparable ratings in the past as well.
2013 analysis by FiveThirtyEight that aggregated several different methods of determining a public official’s degree of conservatism actually awarded Rubio an even higher rating than Ronald Reagan.
For many conservatives, the only spot on Rubio’s record is his alleged support for amnesty for illegal aliens. However, Rubio’s record is not unique in this regard. Most of the Republican candidates have supported at least some form of amnesty in the past, including even Ted Cruz.
Two years ago, during the fight over Rubio’s immigration bill, Cruz himself introduced an amendment to Rubio’s bill (which he has conveniently since disavowed) that would have intentionally left intact a path to legal status. Cruz has also made passionate public statements in defense of the creation of such a path.
#4: Ability to work across party lines
Consistent conservatism is not the true holy grail that we should look for in a candidate. Senator Ted Cruz has consistently earned even higher ratings for his conservative voting record than Marco Rubio. However, I cannot support Cruz, as I noted in a previous blog post. He lacks the ability to work with those he disagrees with – a major liability for the leader of a nation as divided as the United States.
The ideal candidate should be consistently conservative, yet capable of compromise when circumstances so dictate.
As early as February 2013, political commentators began to take note of Rubio’s ability to (paradoxically) maintain both an uncompromisingly conservative voting record, as well as a public image as a senator willing to compromise to get things done – an ability that Obama mastered while running for office in 2008.
As Peter Beinart noted,
Rubio has mastered the same technique Barack Obama used so effectively when he was seeking the presidency. When faced with a controversial issue, he doffs his cap to the other side, pleads for civility and respect, insists that it’s a hard call—and then comes out exactly where you’d expect him to come out. On social issues, Rubio is as predictably conservative as Obama is predictably liberal. What they share is their moderate-sounding rhetorical style.
#5: Not establishment
Unfortunately, Marco Rubio has been portrayed as a centrist softy by the media over the last few months, and has generally been painted as a member of the political establishment.
As I already pointed out above, this image is a false one. It has absolutely no basis in fact. Marco Rubio is as much a member of the political establishment as Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.
Marco Rubio actually fought his way to the Senate on a Tea Party conservative platform. Starting far behind his opponents in the polls, he eventually won a long-shot three-way election by sticking to those conservative roots.
In addition, Rubio’s voting record is also indisputable proof that he is not part of the ‘establishment.’ Rubio is a strong and consistent conservative who has always stood on the right side, even when the going gets tough. As we’ve already seen, Rubio’s voting record tells us that he has stayed true to his Tea Party origins throughout his service in the Senate.
Analysis of Rubio’s supporters also demonstrate that his appeal lies not with centrist or moderate voters, but primarily with strong conservatives.
#6: Real-world knowledge
Rubio has been called one of the most knowledgeable candidates on foreign policy and national security, in a race that has become overshadowed by those critical issues.
In an article on the fifth Republican debate, headlined ‘Rubio Outshines Trump, Cruz in GOP Foreign Policy Debate,’ the Fiscal Times had this to say:
By a clear margin, Rubio came across as the most knowledgeable and polished candidate on foreign policy and national security, the two issues that were the focus of the debate.
That article used the metaphor of a car wreck to describe the foreign policy-focused debate. Rubio was the only one to walk off unscathed, thanks to his extensive foreign policy experience, while the rest of the contenders wound up in a ‘nine-car pileup.’
#7: Political experience
Throughout his political career, Rubio has also clearly demonstrated his considerable political skills. He has revealed an ability to work together, even with his opponents, to get common sense measures such as border security and immigration reform passed.
Rubio’s history provides a stark contrast with that of President Barack Obama. Obama has proved unable to work with a Republican-controlled Congress. Since taking office, he has constantly overstepped constitutional limits on his authority.
Rubio was able to compromise with Democrats to get an immigration reform bill passed through the Senate. When Congress disagreed with Obama on immigration reform, however, he acted unilaterally. Federal judges have subsequently stated that Obama’s actions violated the Constitution.
When his liberal agenda has been thwarted, Obama has consistently and unconstitutionally exercised executive authority without the consent of Congress or the American people. His administration has promised even more drastic executive action to come in his last year in office.
Rubio won’t need to be a tyrant.
Rubio’s the right guy at the right time for the GOP.
We’ve debunked his supposed inexperience. We’ve proven that accusations against his personal integrity are without merit. We’ve refuted the allegation that he’s a member of the political establishment.
As I said earlier, Rubio is experienced, equipped, and ready. He’s prepared to take on the Democratic nominee and serve with distinction as the next president of America.