Republicans are of two minds about “saviors.” Many are wary of embracing one, but others derive their entire political identity from Ronald Reagan. A savior figure may be the only short-term way to regain the presidency, though. The Republican demographic crunch will force a successful presidential candidate to create a sustainable coalition of disparate groups, each attracted to the candidate by something different, and incentivized to work for the candidate by the dream he inspires. …

The Republican savior has to thread the needle: There is room for Republicans to grow their vote in the Rust Belt. But they’ve been unable to do so in their current configuration. The party’s message and messengers aren’t working well enough. A galvanizing candidate, someone who can shake up the chess board, someone who can attach new policies to existing demographic groups and grow them, is what Republicans need. That’s why superficial qualities like Marco Rubio’s youth and, yes, his ethnicity, matter more.