2016: Rubio Impresses

In a big Republican field, it is difficult to stand out. But Marco Rubio has managed to do just that with strong policy solutions, youthful optimism, and firm principles. The Florida senator has already distinguished himself as a rising star who can earn the support of most of the Republican coalition.

Rubio’s potential was clear from the start. Born the son of Cuban immigrants in Miami, he grew up in a working class environment. He made it to the senate by his own hard work and intellect. In 2010 Rubio challenged sitting Florida governor Charlie Crist for the Republican nomination. Crist, a popular and well-known figure in Florida was considered a virtual lock for the nomination. As Rubio often says there were very few people that believed he could win and they all lived in Rubio’s house. But he emerged victorious in the primary, bolstered by tea party support.

In the general election, Rubio faced not only Democratic congressman Kendrick Meek but also Crist, who was by this point running as an independent. In this challenging three way race, which Rubio began as the least known of the three eventual candidates, it was Rubio who prevailed on election night by a large margin. Florida, the forth most populous US State at the time of the 2010 election, has long been a key swing state in presidential election years. Recent history has shown that one party or one ideology does not monopolize the state’s loyalty. Rubio’s continued popularity in the state demonstrates his skill as a politician.

While in the senate he has shown courage numerous times. He made a firm stand on immigration reform that won him no friends in the Republican base. He felt it was the right thing to do and he was willing to take a hit for it. While his proposal was not perfect, his conviction to do what he thinks is right over what is popular is admirable. Rubio has shown an intimate knowledge of foreign policy and has pointed out the failures of the Obama administration. Rubio has stated “our friends no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us.” He is right. Adversaries of the United States like Iran, Russia, and North Korea have been emboldened, while rifts have appeared in relationships with our strong and loyal allies like Britain, Israel, and Germany. As president he will improve our relationships with these and other allies. He will take a firm stand against nations that threaten world peace and oppress their own people. In a time when the US is failing to be a leader when American leadership is needed, he is an attractive choice for president.

Rubio is also a strong fiscal conservative. He favors a business friendly plan of fair regulation, low taxes, and living with in our means. After two terms of irresponsible spending by the Obama administration this is sorely needed in the white house. He understands the importance of a strong economy to the revival of the American dream. He recognizes the unique appeal of America and this country’s ability to change lives. Rubio’s parents came to America as poor Cuban immigrants. They were able to have steady jobs, own their own homes, and give Marco, his brother, and his two sisters opportunities they never dreamed of for themselves. That’s the essence of the American dream, and Rubio understands it.

Rubio can also argue that, unlike Hillary Clinton, he is a candidate for tomorrow. His campaign announcement had the following jab at Clinton: “Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday, began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. Yesterday is over. And we’re never going back.” His youthful optimism rooted in a firm belief that tomorrow will be great for America is reminiscent of John F. Kennedy. The theme of Rubio’s campaign, ‘a new American century,” is forward-looking and well thought out. Rubio has the potential to inspire a new generation of American voters, and this matters more than anything else. Despite a few mistakes here and there – his positions on immigration and on the NSA will turn off some voters – his record is one of the most impressive in the field. There are many appealing candidates for the Republican nomination, but Marco Rubio is undoubtedly an early standout.

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