I’m not totally sold on Marco Rubio, he’s consistently come across as too slick and a careerist politician, as his pursuit of influential positions in both the Florida legislature and the Senate and subsequent disinterest in doing the work that goes with them demonstrates all too clearly. However, South Carolina finally knocked out the most credible candidate in the republican race, Jeb Bush, a decent man with a strong set of ideas to kick start America’s economy. The failure of the Bush campaign machine will be picked over for some time, it’s still a little mystifying, but essentially the Trump hurricane, an inability to appear as well on TV as he did in person, and the anti-establishment wave overwhelmed the Jeb and his (ultimately) unhelpful dynastic surname. Rubio is now the standard bearer for the moderate Republican Party that seeks to govern in the interests of all Americans.
A lot will be written about the Obama legacy in the coming months and years, I have no wish to attack him personally, like almost every President before him, he’s done what he thought was best. However, not only has his abdication of global leadership left the world more unstable, his partisan anti-business agenda has left America’s future more uncertain and its people more dissatisfied. There is probably an undercurrent of racism in some of Trump’s support, but for the most part it is an expression of rage at the Washington establishment. Congressional Republicans have not helped the situation, but as President Obama must take ultimate responsibility for the partisan rancour on Capitol Hill. He has talked about ending division, but has been as inflexible as the Republicans on coming up with bipartisan compromises on all the substantive policy issues. That, combined with his anti-business agenda and language has played no small part in the astonishing success of Trump and Bernie Sanders, the self-described Democratic socialist.
We have been witnessing the most chaotic and troubling (for friends of America like myself) Presidential race in modern history. Finally, however, there are signs that normality is returning. The Clinton firewall held in Nevada, she has stopped Sanders momentum in its tracks and the Democratic race now promises to move to more fertile territory for her. Hillary Clinton, for all her strengths, is a deeply flawed candidate, and eminently beatable if the Republicans put up a decent candidate who can take America back to a more pro-growth and enterprise agenda. Neither Trump or Cruz is that candidate, I don’t doubt Trump would be more pragmatic in office, but his abhorrently divisive approach so far, his attacks on women, all make him unfit to be President. Cruz is an ideologically inflexible representative of the Republican right, who simply cannot win over the general election audience.
I suspect Clinton would prove a better President than Obama on encouraging enterprise and in foreign policy, but she would lead a Democratic Party that has shifted sharply leftwards under Obama and would inevitably drag her some of the way down that path with them. The divisiveness of a Cruz or Trump candidature could take more than one presidential term cycle for the GOP to recover from, so for the sake of an enterprise friendly America looking to play its role on the world stage, Rubio is the only choice. He would represent a Republican Party looking forwards, not backwards, a reinvigoration of the Grand Old Party ready to embrace all Americans.