Coming right on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s entrance into the race, Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign announcement hasn’t generated quite the fanfare that fellow Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul did.
Nevertheless, Mr. Rubio’s could be the determining candidacy in the race. For it will tell us once and for all if the GOP establishment has finally decided it actually wants to beat Democrats more than conservatives for a change.
Two years ago, Mr. Rubio was the Republican Party’s next great hope. Articulate, intelligent, young, conservative and Hispanic – he was poised to become one of the early favorites for 2016. Then Mr. Rubio committed a colossal blunder in the eyes of many in the grass-roots, when he volunteered to be the conservative mascot for the dreaded and derided “Gang of Eight” amnesty scam.
The pro-amnesty GOP establishment loved him for it, but Mr. Rubio paid a dear price politically, losing considerable cache with the very conservatives who carried him to victory in the 2010 Florida U.S. Senate primary over establishment proxy Charlie Crist. Mr. Rubio’s fall from conservative grace opened a door that another conservative Hispanic was ready to fill.