As a conservative voter, this primary season presents an abundance of talented candidates to vote for. From sitting and former Governors to sitting senators, the talent pool is deep. Anyone of them with the exception of a certain arrogant billionaire would make a far better President than the Democratic frontrunners. Yet, I’ve for a long time strongly supported Senator Marco Rubio for President.
It appears that this race will come down to either a two person Trump v. Cruz race, or a three person Trump v. Cruz v. Rubio race. Either Cruz and Rubio are head and shoulders preferable to Trump. They are principled conservatives with a strong record of voting and supporting conservative values. They are also disciplined and skilled communicators and I believe they would both make excellent commanders in chief. Trump on the other hand would be a demagogue who would be deeply destructive to American democracy.
But I felt that I should write a little bit about why I support Senator Rubio over Senator Cruz. It has something to do with “electability,” but not in the traditional sense that it is often talked about. Electability can mean one of two things. The first is that someone is moderate enough and has failed to take strong stances on anything and therefore can appeal to the center. I have no use for this kind of “electable” candidate. On the other hand, electability can also mean the ability to sell your values and principles in such a way that they are more broadly appealing and more mainstream than they would appear coming from another candidate.
Ronald Regan had this gift. Barack Obama also has this gift. They both were able to take very conservative or liberal positions that would have doomed the candidacy of another candidate and make them appear mainstream. They sold their visions rather than compromising on their visions. Such politicians are relatively rare and when they come around they can lead to a shift in the attitudes and values of the electorate.
I believe Marco Rubio is such a candidate. He could take a position that if proposed by Senator Cruz would be seen as radical and reactionary and frame it in such a way, and with an appeal to American values, as to make it seem perfectly reasonable. This is why Rubio is often compared to Obama by the media and others. Indeed, the very fact that Rubio has sold himself as the mainstream Establishment candidate is impressive.
I believe that is exactly what we need in a President. We need someone who is a great communicator and able to sell conservative values. This skill allowed Reagan to go to the American people and get them to agitate for tax reform when it was stalled in Congress. It allowed him to lead towards conservative reforms. That is the skill we need in the White House.
I admire Senator Cruz for his strong positions and his consistent conservatism. But Cruz has built his career on portraying himself as the extremist and the purist. And I don’t believe this is a recipe for success. I find these two so similar on most issues, but different in temperament and different in their ability to actually win an election and succeed as President.
There are many more things I like about Senator Rubio that relate to his communication skills. I have not encountered another public figure who can more comfortably talk about his faith in a genuine and sincere fashion. I have not encountered another public figure who can connect his life story to his values and principles as seamlessly as he can.
I believe that if nominated, Senator Rubio will win in November, and moreover that he will able to be a great President able to lead and inspire the nation towards conservatism.