Democalypse 2016: Examining Marco Rubio

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Shortly after midterms were over my best friend from high school visited Mac from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. We discussed the usual topics of any native Minnesotans in college: hockey and the 2016 presidential election. We’re both conservatives and strongly dislike Donald Trump, but we don’t agree on who we ultimately will support in the GOP primary; my friend is undecided but leans towards Ben Carson while I am a fervent supporter of Senator Marco Rubio. Discussing these candidates with him inspired me to write about Senator Rubio this week and explain why I believe his ideas, optimism for the future of America and past experiences make him the best candidate to take the White House in 2016.

As you may or may not be aware, I’m fairly moderate. I’m quite conservative on economic issues but liberal on most social issues. I take higher notice of candidates aligned with the GOP establishment as I see them as the best fit for the electorate as a whole. Marco Rubio exemplifies everything I believe the GOP ought to bring to the country in “A New American Century.” Rubio comes from a humble background: not born into a prestigious family like some candidates, he didn’t inherit money or even receive a “small loan of a million dollars” as in the case of a certain frontrunner. Rubio grew up with a father who was a bartender and a mother who was a maid. He worked his way through college, law school and an early political career accumulating debt and financial hardships just like the rest of us.

I understand that humble beginnings shouldn’t be the driving force behind supporting one candidate and that is not why I support Rubio so strongly. I do however believe that the next President ought to know a thing or two about living paycheck to paycheck in a struggling middle class in order to work hard for the average American citizen. We live in an age where politicians are increasingly out of touch with constituents and I find it refreshing to see a candidate with a humble background proving that regardless of the financial situation you were born into, you can make it in America and work to strengthen everyone. I believe Marco Rubio exemplifies these ideals.

The most important thing a candidate for any political office has to offer is their policy intentions, an area often ignored or glossed over by some frontrunners, but not Marco Rubio. The month of October was Rubio’s chance to demonstrate his strength on policy with his “31 Days of Policy” initiative. For an entire month, Rubio demonstrated substantive policy ideas including a detailed tax plan, a reduction of the national debt, optimization of American energy sources and higher education/student loan cost reform, just to name a few.

I understand that I’m promoting a conservative candidate to the “most liberal college in America,” according to College Magazine in 2014, so I’m sure many reading will disagree with some of his ideas. Even if you disagree, you have to give him credit where other candidates fall short: Marco Rubio has substance, not just talking points.

I support the Senator’s policy ideas and ant to bring forth just one example I find pertinent to us college students. Rubio’s higher education plan involves overhauling an antiquated system at a time when a college education is vital for most high-paying jobs. Simplification of the financial aid process, income based repayment methods for student loans, a reformed accreditation system to accommodate nontraditional forms of higher education and increased access to career and vocational education are just a few of the senator’s higher education goals. Obviously I’m just brushing the surface on the plans put forward, so I highly encourage taking a look at these policies and others in Rubio’s 31 Days of Policy. You may disagree, but it’s nice to see intentions put forward clearly at a time when candidates seem to avoid taking a stand on issues.

The last few weeks have seen Rubio rise rapidly in the national spotlight, and with that increased media attention comes increased scrutiny. The most prominent of the attacks against Rubio included calls for his resignation from the Senate by the Sun Sentinel due to his absence from many votes. When confronted about his absence during the CNBC debate, Rubio seized the moment and exemplified the media bias that is so pertinent in this country. In 2004, Florida Democrat Bob Graham ran for President and missed over 30 percent of his votes without criticism. John Kerry missed nearly 70 percent of his senate votes when running for President without criticism and even got the Sun Sentinel endorsement. In 2008, Barack Obama missed

60 percent of his senate votes, Hillary Clinton missed 75 percent of hers and Joe Biden missed nearly 80 percent of his votes. (Data from govtrack.us.) Marco Rubio has missed 34 percent of his votes. Yes, he should have more of a presence in the Senate, but a double standard is clearly evident here.

I previously supported Governor Chris Christie, but after listening to and researching Marco Rubio more in depth, I have changed my mind and fully stand behind the Florida Senator. That is not to say that I don’t disagree with him on a few issues—his stance on abortion being one of the few areas differentiating our beliefs. I am personally pro-life but I am for an individual’s right to choose. Senator Rubio has a different opinion on this than myself and, while I don’t agree with it, I still support the senator based on the other political ideals he champions that I hold true and I sincerely hope he will evolve on that one particular issue. I believe that the United States needs a candidate like Marco Rubio at this vital time in history. I encourage my fellow Republicans to take a closer look at Rubio and consider standing behind him for a “New American Century.” I implore my Democratic friends to give him a shot and look into him a bit. While you may ultimately support Clinton, Sanders or O’Malley, I see looking at the other sides ideas as beneficial to the electoral process. Personally, I look forward to seeing what else Marco Rubio has to offer and I hope the GOP can rally behind him as a positive voice for the modern Republican Party.