Wave Goodbye to Marco Rubio, the Failed Candidate of Outdated Thinking

marco rubio minimum wage

One last trip to this dried-up well.

Conservative Ross Douthat’s column in the New York Times today is a post-mortem of Marco Rubio’s campaign. It concludes with these two paragraphs:

At times, Rubio’s biography, his youth and his eloquence seemed to make him the natural candidate for a party in search of What Comes Next. And in certain ways he was victimized by a conservative electorate that fears the future, that wants any “new” synthesis to simply recreate the glories of a vanished American past.

But he was also a victim of his own fateful look backward, his assumption that what worked for the last Republican president could be made to work again. It didn’t, it couldn’t, and it probably won’t be tried again: Whoever wins the nomination in 2016, George W. Bush has gone down to defeat.

So he’s saying that Marco Rubio is the candidate of the past? Huh. That’s certainly original. What a unique thought! Why has nobody else pointed this out?

Even though Douthat has finally come around to the obvious, it’s important to note that he still got it kind of wrong. The collapse of Rubio doesn’t just denote the end of Bushism. Rubio’s collapse—as well as Jeb Bush’s collapse, and Rick Perry’s collapse, and the impending collapse of John Kasich—signifies the end of the trickle-down narrative that has dominated conservative politics since the Reagan years.

What we’re seeing in Trump is a candidate who has capitalized on voter exhaustion at trickle down economics. Republican voters believe income inequality is a huge problem, and they think Trump, a candidate who repeatedly says he’s not beholden to big money interests, is the one who can fix it. Douthat is correct to note that Rubio, with his slick persona and his stage-managed campaign, represents a very old conservative political concept that has been worn paper-thin. But he’s wrong about the reasons why. When it comes to the trickle down bullshit Republicans have been handing out unthinkingly for decades, the voters aren’t buying it anymore. And everyone should entirely stop listening to Douthat when it comes to Rubio, anyway. After all, he’s the guy who delivered this beauty to the world last year:

Yeah, I’m not entirely sure he knows what he’s talking about.

Paul Constant

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