Why Marco Rubio should be the VP running mate
Why Marco Rubio should be the VP running mate
By Adam Alan Isackson
In a presidential race there are few decisions more important than who the vice presidential nominee should be and it’s a decision that rests squarely in the hands of the presidential nominee. While very few voters vote for a ticket base solely on this decision it’s still seen by many as that first major judgment call by a nominee and oftentimes becomes a window into what that administration will look like and where the priorities truly lie.
First and foremost the goal is to select someone that will do no harm to the ticket. Any amount of baggage, despite its practical relevancy, will serve at the very least as a distraction. The last thing a ticket needs down the stretch is a national media focusing on something other than the campaign’s core message. A more serious issue can do much worse, and undermine the message entirely. Additionally the running mate needs to be someone focused and credible with the political savvy to stay on topic and not become bogged down on issues of less relevance. Rubio seems to meet all of these basic qualifications.
Subject to the scrutiny of one of the most intensely followed senate races in the country in 2010 Rubio showed striking maturity for a candidate who was only 39 at the time. Winning 50% of the vote in a 3 way race by running to the right of your own party’s governor and a Democrat in a moderate state is no easy feat. In the end his opposition threw everything but the kitchen sink at him and nothing stuck. If that isn’t some serious vetting, nothing is. In Rubio you have someone who can stick to the game plan, deliver the message, handle the media and deal with tough criticism all while coming out of it squeaky clean. If this was all that Rubio brought to the table he would be a solid choice.
Meeting all of these considerations what else does Rubio bring to the table? Well for one you have a sitting senator from a critical state. Above and beyond the states won by John McCain in 2008, after census reapportionment, the Republican ticket needs to pick up 96 additional electoral votes to reach the all critical 271. The state of Florida accounts for 29 of those 96 electoral votes and is a must win state under almost any realistic strategy. Imagine the buzz that a Rubio selection would deliver considering the location of the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa, FL.
The state of Florida however isn’t the only place he gives a campaign a real shot in the arm. His Cuban heritage and a rapidly growing Hispanic demographic nationally, very well could make his selection critical. 16% of the US population, according to the 2010 census, identifies themselves as Hispanic and that number is higher in Colorado(20.7%), Nevada (26.5%), where Rubio grew up, and New Mexico (46.3%), all of which are or could be in play with Rubio on the ticket. In the long run a Rubio selection could do much more than helping the ticket in a few key states, it could help the party’s overall image with Hispanic voters, undoubtedly critical to the future of the Republican party considering that more than half of the US’s population growth in the last 10 years was due to increases in the Hispanic population.
The other strong possibility is that Republicans may nominate a candidate, like Romney or Huntsman who many within the conservative base or Tea Party movement might be less than enthusiastic about. Who better than a guy like Marco Rubio, who received strong Tea Party backing in 2010, to unite the party? A Rubio selection, and the threat of a second Obama term, could do that almost overnight and additionally bring a lot of volunteer enthusiasm that might otherwise be missing. He’s also the kind of guy who can excite the base without scaring off the all important moderate / independent vote, equally critical in any presidential race.
In closing, while Senator Marco Rubio certainly isn’t the only compelling option there’s little doubt that he is one option that the eventual nominee will find difficult to ignore. Rubio is young, smart, charismatic, Hispanic, has solid conservative credentials, would be a strong media presence and undoubtedly would be a big asset in the electoral race. Rubio’s a rising star in the GOP, and for good reason. He would bring a lot to the table while at the same time being a safe choice. The left wing media would have a difficult time trying to demonize the guy; he’s just to likeable and to politically savvy to get boxed into a corner. The only big questions remaining are if he would be willing to run, he has so far expressed little interest, and whether the eventual nominee has the foresight to recognize all that he would bring to the table.
About the author
Adam Isackson currently resides in Tacoma, Washington where he has managed, consulted worked on and volunteered for countless campaigns since the 90’s. Most recently managingthe campaigns of now State Rep. Jan Angel (R), who took an open (D) seat in ’08, and who was resoundingly reelected in 2010. If you have any questions, comments, or interest in political services you can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling and leaving a message at 253-678-1707