I first took notice of Sen. Marco Rubio when he gave a speech at the Reagan Library in 2011, which is worth the watch to learn what he stands for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BypW8Ev3lM
The difference between Rubio and someone like Donald Trump is that Rubio is truly principled–a conservative through and through–whereas Trump is the definition of a populist. Do I think Rubio has a chance against that? To be honest, I’m not sure, because so many people fall victim to the sheer entertainment value of a guy like Trump. I genuinely hope Rubio can win the nomination, because it can be dangerous to have people in power who are so easily swayed by opportunism and ego. Of course, I recognize all politicians, inherently, possess a certain level of both–but in Trump’s case, that’s basically all he is. Read a transcript from one of his campaign rallies, or even his responses in GOP debates; when you take away the bravado and bombast, his words are worryingly empty.
What do I like about Rubio? To me, he represents the direction I want my political party to go. He’s young, principled, articulate, unapologetically Christian, and deeply committed to American ideals of freedom, prosperity, and strength. He’s strong on foreign policy–not someone who would make weak deals with terrorist nations, or put up with any shadiness from them. Domestically, I am a huge supporter of his view that the Department of Education should be abolished, and Common Core torn up and thrown out. He’s an advocate for states’ rights, which is what our founders intended in so many instances that are now handled (often badly) by the federal government.
Rubio is not perfect–no candidate is. I think he had a misstep with immigration reform in 2013 in the Senate, but he openly admits it was a mistake. But here’s the thing: give me a candidate who I might disagree with on some policy issues but is honest about it and I am much more willing to concede our differences and still support him. That’s in stark contrast to a candidate like Ted Cruz, who tries to be all things to all people and comes across as pandering and slippery for it.
Ultimately, I like Rubio’s energy, his ideals, and his passion for the American dream. It doesn’t hurt that he’s the only candidate polling above Hillary in potential general election matchups, either. I want a conservative in the White House in 2017, and he’s the best shot we have at making that a reality. It’s likely his bigger battle is winning the primary, especially with a guy like Trump sucking all the oxygen out of the room and endless attacks from “establishment” candidates like Jeb Bush and John Kasich.
If ever there was a candidate who could weather all that–who could survive the circus the Republican primary has proven to be–it is Marco Rubio, and I’m proud to support him.