Conservative Republicans have a tremendous opportunity this election cycle to send a change agent to the White House.
Not by sending a foul-mouthed provocateur to Washington, or topping their ticket with someone who prides himself on amplifying public anger instead of channeling it productively, but by nominating the only remaining Republican candidate who has a clear, comprehensive and unfailingly optimistic vision for moving the country forward: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
The current election cycle has been defined by anger and distrust. And while the young senator makes no bones about his belief that America is in decline, his message for the nation is hopeful and inclusive. His ability to articulate and market conservative ideas to people in all walks of life makes him the ideology’s greatest spokesman.
Rubio, 44, may be the only candidate whose hopeful message can unite not only his party but the nation as a whole.
But Rubio’s hope is not a fantasy, nor is it vague wish for a brighter American future.
The senator has outlined specific policy proposals to address many of the problems driving public ire, including lowering the national debt, addressing inequality of opportunity, lowering the cost and increasing the quality of education and reforming entitlement programs.
His pro-growth tax plan offers a generous second child tax credit of $2,500 (on top of the current $1,000 child tax credit), designed to help working families and single-parent households.
His free-market solutions for reducing student debt demand that schools provide more information about the professional success of graduates to help prospective students make wise choices about taking on debt, and offer private investment opportunities to help address costs. These solutions also speak to Rubio’s own experience grappling with student loans.
Indeed, Rubio’s personal biography appears to be a driving force behind his candidacy. The son of a bartender and a maid, both Cuban immigrants, Florida’s junior senator says he knows something about living paycheck to paycheck.
As the child of immigrants and as a member of the now vaunted Gang of Eight, where he proved his ability to work across party lines, Rubio provides hope that reform of our nation’s immigration system can be a top priority.
Like all candidates, Rubio is not without blemish. He is young; like his would-be predecessor, he is a first-term senator who has never held executive office.
Rubio has also missed more Senate votes than is desirable, largely on account of his campaign schedule. It’s worth noting that Rubio is not seeking re-election in the Senate.
His stumble in the New Hampshire primary debate and subsequent fifth-place finish forced many to question if he was prepared to withstand the pressure of high office. But his performance since in debates and on the campaign trail has proven his grit and resilience.
It has also proven his positive message for conservative reform has resonated with Americans.
If Republicans are seeking to nominate an angry or divisive candidate, they certainly have choices. But ifthey wish to select a candidate whose message is one of hope and whose policies suggest a desire to expand the American dream, Rubio is the only viable choice.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican presidential primary.