I’ve never hidden who I like in the 2016 Presidential race. I was thrilled to enter this cycle because there were so many candidates I could support fully, including guys like Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry.
Two of my favorites are still in the race: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. My reasons for supporting Cruz I discussed in a previous post, but here’s why I like Marco Rubio. He has the ability to expand the conservative base in a way no politician has since Ronald Reagan.
Marco Rubio is at the same time a throwback Republican, and a Republican for the 21st century. It's this unusual combination of traits that makes him a great spokesman for conservatives, and potentially a breakthrough party leader both for the Republican Party, and for conservatives within that party.
How is Marco Rubio a throwback Republican? It's because he's always positioned himself as the guy who backs conservative ideas for all three legs of the old Reaganite stool. His overarching theme of the "New American Century" captures that well, I believe. He wants a stronger military, with a Navy able to challenge our competitors worldwide, and the ability to project air and ground forces wherever we need. This stands in contrast with the Paulite movement that Ted Cruz has tried to tap into, wringing his hands like a nervous nelly about 'nation building' instead of developing the strength to secure victory. Just like we used to in Reagan's day, when we started winning again after Vietnam sapped our confidence.
Rubio believes that we need government to get out of the way of small businesses, whose entrepreneurial innovation is the beating heart of our economy. Less taxation, less regulation, and more freedom are the path to prosperity and a higher standard of living. This is the kind of basic argumentation we haven't really done since the 80s, when we had a giant wing of the party that spoke with clear, simple language about less regulation and lower tax rates.
And Marco Rubio is not ashamed to say that he believes the American way of life is indelibly connected with Judeo-Christian values, and that his faith is central to his outlook on life, both in private matters and in public policy. This in particular is a massive throwback to the 80s as well, when the atheist Soviet Union still stood in contrast with Christian America.
So while Marco Rubio's principles are a throwback to a simpler time, he has the ability to relate them to today's voters. Contrasted with candidates like Ted Cruz (Princeton, Harvard), Hillary Clinton (Wellesley, Yale), his humble start at the University of Florida, taking on debt to get educated, gives him an in with voters also facing student debt.
He can talk about that debt with personal knowledge, and that gives him the ability to connect with voters, because he can bring the kind of passion that he also brings to his discussions of Christianity.
Marco Rubio is the son of immigrants, who worked his way up from public schools, to local government, to state government, to the US Senate, paying off debt and getting made fun of for being in debt, along the way. He takes that life experience, adds in his gifted speaking ability, and uses both to persuade Americans that timeless conservative ideas are relevant to today's challenges.
It'd be a thrill to watch him destroy Hillary Clinton in debates, and I'd love to see him be our nominee for President.