The next president will be . . . Marco Rubio

Unknown-5News flash: The Rational Optimist blog can now call the next presidential election for . . . yes, Rubio.

We’re told Trump and Carson are “frontrunners” for the GOP nomination. I don’t know what that means when we’re talking 25% or so in polls. Last I checked it takes 50+% of convention votes. No way either guy can reach that. Especially when dividing the “outsider” vote between them. But even if those votes all went to just Trump, or Carson, it still couldn’t plausibly produce a convention majority.

imagesThere are really two contests. One is an outlet for folks to vent anger and disaffection, and mouth off for candidates who push their buttons. The ones Trump pushes are obvious. And Carson’s persona as the antithesis of the stereotypical politico is working for him. He’s also got a “magical negro” thing going, as inoculation against the idea that Republican Obama-hatred is race-based.

But the second contest is a presidential election. And when it comes to that, most voters will put aside their emotive responses to the likes of Trump and Carson, and get serious. And neither man can be taken seriously as presidential material, unless something has radically changed in the American mindset. Indeed, for all the Trump and Carson ballyhoo, voters are too timid for anything truly radical. After all, we’ve seen high levels of voter disaffection before, with Congressional approval ratings scraping 9% (and who are those clueless 9%?). Yet the Congressional re-election rate continues to exceed 90%!

So while Trump and Carson “lead” the polls, with meaninglessly anemic pluralities, the real battle is among the more conventional and serious candidates. Unknown-3Initially Bush seemed the man, just on general principles, and hence he’s raised a gazillion dollars. Proving yet again that money doesn’t “buy” elections. No amount of advertising can sell a product people don’t like, and Bush seems to be the lackluster Edsel of this campaign.

Unknown-1Marco Rubio has the pizzazz Bush does not, and is brightening as Bush fades. Rubio is attractive and articulate. And it isn’t flash without substance. While much of the Republican party seems mired in ruinous ideological fetishism, Rubio embodies what a relevant and truly progressive twenty-first century Republican party could be, tackling the country’s real problems with sensible approaches that emphasize the empowerment of people rather than government (in contrast to Democratic “progressives,” who are not my idea of progressivity).*

Bernie Sanders, for all his humorlessness, is another non-serious candidate. Admittedly, unlike Trump’s and Carson’s, his supporters wouldn’t flinch from actually making him president. But they can’t stop Hillary Clinton’s remorseless juggernaut. She’ll be the nominee.

With a presidential electorate fairly evenly divided between the parties, elections are decided by the swing voters who are actually the least engaged and informed and who vote impressionistically, with their gut, for the candidate whose persona they’re most comfortable with. They’re not ideological. images-1And between Clinton and Rubio, Rubio has the better story. Clinton personifies the poisonous political divisiveness of the past couple of decades; Rubio might offer a fresh start.

Watch for a smear campaign on Rubio’s personal finances. But against Hillary Clinton? Really? With her history of dishonesty, scandals, misjudgments, and massive conflicts of interest? (Declaring in the recent debate her pride in the enmity of pharmaceutical companies – which have given her millions!)

Unknown-4Overheard from an unsophisticated middle-American conversation: “Hillary is shifty. Like a car salesman.”

So on January 20, 2017: “I, Marco Rubio, do solemnly swear . . . . “

* For example, hostility to free trade and technological advancement, and intolerance of divergent views.

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13 Responses to “The next president will be . . . Marco Rubio”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Frank, I hope you are correct. Anyone but a Democrat, especially Hillary.
    Dan

  2. Lee Says:

    Likely because I am more a Democrat than a Republican, I like John Kasich and George Pataki among the Republican candidates, and I am interested in Rand Paul as well. Do any of them have a chance to get the nomination?

    Rubio’s stance against the Affordable Care Act may do him well in swing states like FL, NC, and NV, but the act is popular in PA, VA, OH, WI, IA, and CO, and maybe there is a good chance that people will vote their self-interest on this topic. Any thoughts on that … or will issues like this play second to the personality contest?

  3. rationaloptimist Says:

    Kasich & Pataki are actually excellent candidates, but the answer is “no” and “be serious.” Rand Paul is a wild card, but also “no.”
    People don’t vote their self-interest, they vote their values (which drives liberals crazy). Presidential elections are not decided on issues, as I explained.

  4. Lee Says:

    If you are saying that liberals vote issues and conservatives vote values then maybe there could be a unifying candidate that has the issue stances of a liberal and the values of a conservative. If you have any suggestions as to who could fit that mold, I would be very interested!

  5. DAN Says:

    Regarding Rand Paul, after the latest GOP debate, I would never support Rand Paul given his position of the Military. I cannot imagine a President not support a strong military. Well, actutally I can because we have one in the White House now!!!
    Dan

  6. rationaloptimist Says:

    Lee, Liberals vote values too. Take a look at this: https://rationaloptimist.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/the-righteous-mind/

  7. Lee Says:

    The Righteous Mind … is that the book where the author takes several values that are recognized by conservative but is apparently surprised that some of these values do not register for liberals? I think the author fails to mention that if you start with values recognized by liberals then some of them won’t register for conservatives; instead these values are too often derided as kumbaya thinking or similar. For example “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part” would not register for many conservatives.

    But the dissonance I am feeling is that you seem to be saying that liberals vote their values and, simultaneously, are driven crazy by the fact that issues are not how voters decide their votes. Can you explain that further?

  8. rationaloptimist Says:

    Kumbaya indeed. You should read the book. Seriously, you’d find it highly informative.
    Liberals seem to imagine they’re entitled to votes of working people on economic issues (though in my view they’re actually wrong, too, in thinking their policies are good for working people), and are baffled when voters vote against their self-interest (as seen by liberals!) and instead vote for values other than economic self interest.

  9. Roger Green Says:

    maybe. Rubio’s terribly thin-skinned about his financial history. Yes, he DID describe it when running for the Senate, but this is a whole new audience.

  10. DAN Says:

    Hussein Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump all have an Ozymandias complex.

  11. bruce Says:

    Frank, can I ask your opinion? Does Rubio have the gift of speech, I mean the ability to round up support from the masses? Assuming he was president, could he lead?
    My initial impression is he might come off as a loud mouth shouter and not a thought provoker, and influencer. If only because his speech style isn’t toned enough. Maybe once in a position of power his presence will change.

    My kingdom for a good leader.

  12. rationaloptimist Says:

    My opinion: yes, absolutely. He is very articulate. But the most important thing is not the style but the substance.

  13. JJ truth Says:

    Anyone who believes kasich is a good candidate has never actually lived in Ohio, where good jobs are scarce and many employers pay below minimum wage. There is also a law passed that unemployed workers cannot interview with employers. In other words, businesses are free to discriminate against the unemployed. Well most of them end up in below minimum wage jobs or homeless. Many of Ohio’s once thriving cities have lost more than half of its population. Places like Youngstown, Akron have become ghost towns even Cleveland becomes empty after 5:00 p.m. Ohio is still a dying rust belt state. Policies like NAFTA, GATT, CAFTA have taken their toll on this once thriving state TPP will utterly destroy it. John Kasich is NOT the answer for America.

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