Rubio: I’ll be the Great Uniter the GOP needs

posted at 12:01 pm on February 2, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Can Marco Rubio unite the Republican Party? Does it actually want to be united? Rubio previewed this argument all throughout Iowa, and then in an ebullient quasi-victory speech last night. This morning, the surprisingly strong bronze medalist expanded and expounded on his theme of unity on ABC’s Good Morning America:


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“The Republican Party is being very clear: This is not a time for patience, this is a time for urgency,” the Florida senator said on “Good Morning America” today. …

“They told us at the beginning of this race that I shouldn’t even run, that it wasn’t my turn; I needed to wait in line,” Rubio, 44, added.

He went on to say the people of Iowa realized he was their “best chance.”

“I give the country the best chance not just to unify the conservative movement,” he said, “but to grow it.”

The first question is this: Do Republicans actually want unity? The sustained support for the myriad of candidates all the way down to the Iowa caucus suggests otherwise. Forget the failed predictions about Donald Trump for the moment; how many people thought marginal candidates like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum would still be slogging through the cornfields as late as yesterday? Who guessed that Rand Paul, who has a race to win in Kentucky, would still be aiming at New Hampshire by Groundhog Day? Jim Gilmore only got 12 votes in Iowa, but more than 13,000 voted for Paul, Huckabee, and Santorum combined, accounting for seven percent of the vote. Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich combined for another 7%, and Ben Carson got 9% on his own. That’s almost a quarter of all Iowa Republican votes going for also-rans.

Next questions: which Republicans can Rubio unify? Trump’s appeal has been more to outsiders, although it also includes regular Republican voters. Cruz’ appeal is also to disaffected Republicans. Put together, Cruz and Trump represent slightly more than half of Republican votes in last night’s primaries. Rubio could make a pretty good case for rallying the other half, and if he did, he might win the nomination. In fact, a three-way race would look pretty good for Marco Rubio at the moment, as long as it was truly a three-way race, with Bush, Kasich, Carson, and Christie hanging it up. A two-way race might not look as good, even though it would be closer to unity.

Rubio’s better argument is that he has more upside in a general election — a lot more upside — than either Cruz or Trump. But primaries are won on base appeal more than general-election calculations, perhaps especially this cycle (and the same is true in the Democratic race, by the way). Unity makes a good code word for the electability argument. Expect to hear it a lot from Rubio, even while Ted Cruz makes a pretty good argument that his brand of unity is what carried him to victory last night.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

W

hiterock on February 2, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Trump had a big lead and gave it away.

LevinFan on February 2, 2016 at 2:44 PM

Who says Trump had a big lead? Oh, are you referring to the polls
which everyone today is saying weren’t accurate (which seems so).
Well if they had been accurate (and maybe not leading opinion), then we would have known that Trump was always in second place.

Nicely played GOPe, hope lessons are learned for the future.

OH, don’t make the mistake of assuming Trump is my guy, or that I would vote for Rubio.

Please do tell me something, LevinFan. Why has Levin turned so rabid these last weeks that I can’t take him any longer. I feel he sounds like a ex screaming at me. Used to listen every day.

Whiterock on February 2, 2016 at 6:39 PM

My butt will be united with my couch because I won’t vote for Rubio.

huckleberryfriend on February 2, 2016 at 7:08 PM

Please do tell me something, LevinFan. Why has Levin turned so rabid these last weeks that I can’t take him any longer. I feel he sounds like a ex screaming at me. Used to listen every day.

Whiterock on February 2, 2016 at 6:39 PM

Nothing new. He’s wickedly smart but haven’t been able to listen to him for years.

CWforFreedom on February 2, 2016 at 7:16 PM

Rubio: I’ll be the Great Uniter the GOP needs

Yes, Rubio will unite the Democrat Party with 20 million new Democrat voters.

No Thanks!

RJL on February 2, 2016 at 8:36 PM

“The Republican Party is being very clear: This is not a time for patience, this is a time for urgency,” the Florida senator said on “Good Morning America” today. …

More importantly, what does Barack Obama and Chuck U. Schumer tell you?

RJL on February 2, 2016 at 8:38 PM

Wait, this is the guy who left town and refused to vote on that huge stimulus bill before running out and asking me for my vote?

Dollayo on February 2, 2016 at 10:56 PM

Can he not get a better haircut? Does his hot wife actually think that’s attractive?

Nutstuyu on February 3, 2016 at 12:34 PM

Rubio, go away! You have nothing to offer to American but owe your being bought and paid for by the old stale soon to be toast GOP. You are against what the majority of America doesn’t want: Amnesty. You are a weak candidate in the long run but being pushed by the GOP as if you were gold. You ain’t. You are pure dirt and not worthy of any political position. Even most Floridians did not and do not like you. You have no skills to be president. We need someone with real business and management skills and who knows how to negotiate to wins. You ain’t got any of that. Sadly, if you would get a false nomination from a cheating Electoral College, I would have to rethink writing in my vote! Egads! First Sanders and Hillary, and now Rubio? What can the GOP be thinking. They are not, they are scared spitless that we will vote in a nominee that will save America and not continue to hand it over to communism and slavery!

Roselle on February 3, 2016 at 1:30 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4