Marco Rubio has been given a second chance to be a conservative. After 6 years in the Senate, Rubio lost his presidential run this year because he backed the Gang of Eight comprehensive immigration reform, which was so unpopular with Republicans. But Republicans in Florida did not want his amnesty plans and proved so in the Republican primary, now the state has given Rubio the opportunity to rebrand himself with another Senate term, for the future of Rubio’s career he must use it to prove he is a conservative.
Rubio built his name around immigration reform which mirrored the path to amnesty President Obama enacted. During his run for Senate in 2010, Breibart’s Julia Hahn of March 2016 reminded Americans that “Rubio campaigned against the DREAM Act and hammered opponent Charlie Crist for backing an ‘earned path to citizenship’ for illegal immigrants— earning Rubio the plaudits of conservatives being introduced to him for the first time on the national stage.”
Conservatives wanted Rubio. However, once he entered office Rubio decided to give up the fight for conservatism and enforcing immigration law and attempt to be bipartisan on his largest partisan issue.
Hahn went on to describe Rubio as “the driving force, central pitchman, legislative co-author and most zealous promoter of the biggest amnesty and mass immigration bill in the history of the United States and perhaps the world.” It was this reputation that led him to a devastating loss in the Republican primaries. His own state of Florida finished him off.
Rubio was not ready for the war that the Republican primary represented and was seen as a robotic product of the traditional political establishment, rather than a conservative leader. Rubio did not fight for what he claimed to believe in, so the people did not believe in him.
Rubio’s harshest critiques, such as the Miami New Times’ Jerry Iannelli, describe his as a “craven opportunist obsessed with nothing but the presidency” and cite his missed Senate votes as evidence. However, Floridians offered Rubio a second chance to save his political career, and now he must commit to the people of Florida and prove his conservative value.
Despite repeatedly claiming he wanted to be a private citizen, Rubio ran for reelection last Tuesday. The people gave Rubio the opportunity he needed, they supported their Senator and asked for him to be the conservative he has claimed to be.
While Rubio is expected to run for President in the future, he will fall victim to the same attacks he saw in the primary if he does not pick a conservative position and fight for it; fight Democrats for it, fight Republicans for it, and even fight Trump for it if he has to.
While wondering why Republicans were not supporting Rubio in the primary, Fivethirtyeight reporter Harry Enten explained, “Rubio was elected in 2010 as a tea party supporter who challenged Florida’s sitting governor in a Senate race. Except for immigration…there were few occasions when Rubio went to bat for a major cause of the establishment.”
Being a true conservative could one day paint a path to presidency if Rubio pursues it well. While Ted Cruz received backlash for his slow endorsement of Trump, he has remained a respected Senator and came in second in the primary for one simple reason, he never stopped fighting for conservative ideas. While Rubio missed votes, and folded to Democrats on amnesty, Cruz kept fighting.
Rubio was expected to be the GOP’s rising star, unfortunately he proved unfit for the task at the time. Now he is back, the people have given him a second chance, it is his duty to listen and be the conservative Senator he was voted into office as.