Overrated Rubio Running Out of Time

The Florida senator is not attracting the financial support and the organization he needs to stay relevant.

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks in Columbus, Ohio, August 22
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks in Columbus, Ohio, August 22 (Gage Skidmore)

Florida senator Marco Rubio’s presidential candidacy is making less and less sense and that seems to be dawning on potential (financial) supporters as well.

Politico reports that Rubio is raising less money than fellow Floridian Jeb Bush and being outmanned in the early voting states. “His staff is largely concentrated in Washington,” according to the political news website, “with just a small umbrella of on-the-ground, early-state operatives.”

For all the recent buzz surrounding his candidacy — fueled by strong debate performances — Rubio isn’t raising enough money to keep pace with his rivals in the top tier and he’s running out of time to assemble a robust field organization.

The more fundamental problem — as the Atlantic Sentinel reported when he declared his candidacy in April — is that Rubio struggles to distinguish himself from the other candidates. He is a social conservative but also more at home in twenty-first century America than the likes of Ted Cruz. He once supported more liberal immigration laws and still champions school reform but Bush is a more plausible advocate of both.

Rubio is supposed to be a “serious” candidate when it comes to foreign policy. But as this website has also reported, his expertise in the field is overrated. Rubio is little different from the neoconservatives in the last Republican administration who never saw a war they didn’t want to involve the United States in.

The American Conservative‘s Daniel Larison recently argued that the assumption behind Rubio’s candidacy is that he is supposed to be more electable. “But that has never made that much sense.”

Rubio may be younger than most candidates and, as an Hispanic American from a presidential swing state, able to expand the Republican coalition.

He hasn’t so far.

Polls show Rubio isn’t more popular with Hispanic voters than Republicans nationwide. His popularity is mixed even in his home state. It’s far from obvious, writes Larison, that a Rubio-led Republican Party could win Florida in the 2016 presidential election.

The argument for Rubio’s candidacy has been a circular one: he is the “savior” of the party because he will win over new voters for the GOP and new voters will support a Rubio-led GOP because he is the party’s “savior.”

At some point, that flawed reasoning should come full circle and Rubio’s presidential ambitions will come to an end.

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