Against my better judgement, I will try to convince Trump supporters that they can get more for their angry buck with Rubio, and here’s why:
If you support Mr. Trump because he is a political outsider, so is Mr. Rubio. Sure, he has spent a few years in the Senate, and before that was Speaker of the Florida House. But a mere 5 years ago Marco Rubio was a Tea Party insurgent knocking off the “establishment” in Florida. “Outsider” is a mentality, not a resume. That is why many consider also-Senator Ted Cruz to be one. Rubio is a far better choice than Cruz for people who like Trump but are concerned about his “trust me I’m great” platform. Rubio could be a defining candidate for a generation. Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump are simply more polarizing than Senator Rubio. This counts for something in the actual election.
If you support Mr. Trump for President because you like his direct, smash-mouth style, get a transcript of what he said and a transcript of something Senator Rubio said and read them both. That is how you separate what you see on TV with what is actually being said. Watching Donald Trump speak creates an appealing emotional reaction. Reading what he said after the fact can be a sobering experience. Mr. Trump’s speeches are mostly about his standing in the polls, the number of people in his audience, and how he would “be great” as president. Do you really just want to take his word on that? Track down what each candidate says about the Middle East and compare. It’s “I can’t tip off the enemy” vs. an intelligent analysis of geopolitical realities.
If you support Mr. Trump for President because he “makes great deals,” and would make great deals as President, OK, I’ll give you that, up to a point. But deal-making skills in commercial real estate will only carry you so far in politics and government. Mr. Trump’s background indicates that he will exit a situation that he finds frustrating or not-worth-the-effort, as he well should in real estate development. But that doesn’t cut it when leading the country out of our many messes. Senator Rubio has the long-term vision and persistence to achieve the change over time, and time it will take. It can’t happen with the suddenness that Mr. Trump proclaims.
If you support Mr. Trump for President because the national government is “broken” and you think he would fix it, you should really think more about how government works. Presidential power has always been about influence and persuasion, not command and control (excepting occasionally the military). President Obama, having mostly failed at persuasion, has resorted to unprecedented executive actions, many of which are being tossed out by the courts. Mr. Trump’s approach simply will not improve the functioning of government. It’s about articulating a vision that people will follow. For all his talents, Mr. Trump is not a visionary (other than envisioning his name on everything). Mr. Rubio is.
If you support Mr. Trump for President because you think the country is being overrun by people from other countries, legally or illegally, I would encourage you to look at historical evidence that makes clear over the years that population growth is good, not bad. Yes, some immigrants take advantage of government subsidies, but the second generation children that they raise most often do not, and many of them accomplish great things for their country. Like Senator Rubio for instance. Immigration is not anywhere close to the major problem for the nation that many people think it is, when compared to, say, $20 trillion in national debt, a Middle East that is turning to Russia to manage the mess, or Chinese hacking into our government and business systems.
If you support Mr. Trump for President because he has great tweets, you can surely see that most of his Twitter activity is retweeting adoration from followers. Classic cult-of-the-personality stuff bordering on the kind of things we see in North Korea. (Dear Leader, we adore you, etc.) Check out @MarcoRubio and see how a professional sends out communications.
If you support Mr. Trump for President because you think he has the best chance of beating Mrs. Clinton or whoever, think again. There are two theories of the general election: Appeal to the 30% in the middle who most often decide the outcome, or drive your “base” to the polls in such numbers to overcome the opposition. History suggests the former is more often successful in presidential politics. No, Mitt Romney didn’t lose because conservatives didn’t vote; he lost because he let the opposition paint him negative without sufficient response. Also because of comments mis-interpreted to be anti-Hispanic. Do you really believe that sufficient Hispanics will vote for Donald Trump? Certainly no more than voted for Romney.
If you support Mr. Trump for President because you think he is more conservative than others, well, you are a complete idiot because clearly he is not.
Donald Trump is a cross between Mohammed Ali and PT Barnum: I am the greatest, and that is why I should be President. Oh sure, he has some policy prescriptions; heck, I could compile policy prescriptions, but his core message is and always will be “Trust me. I am great. I would be the greatest president. Because I said so.” Humility is a virtue in a strong leader. Trump’s self-proclaimed strength is the strength of the school-yard bully, not the strength of any particular virtue. If “blue collar” Republicans have coalesced around Mr. Trump, I would suggest to look again. Rubio is one of you. Really. More so than Trump.
What, exactly, will “Make America Great Again?” Installing all types of barriers to entry? Trade tariffs and trade wars? Increased racial and religious conflicts? Sorry, ain’t gonna work. There is a tremendous opportunity to right the ship of state in an historic, game-changing, generational election, but we need an historic, game-changing, generational candidate to do that. It’s Marco Rubio, not Donald Trump.