Last week, the Washington Post ran a well-reported story about Marco Rubio’s role on a Florida House security committee in the weeks following 9/11. Rubio, then 30, essentially dedicated the same level of attention to his duties as one gives a drunken stranger telling a 26-minute story about how they once designed a dress for their hamster. Tardiness, absenteeism, incompetent questioning and bizarre voting habits — porn stars switch positions less often than Rubio — defined his brief stint on the committee. It’s an unflattering portrait that echoes criticisms leveled at Rubio throughout his rise from Florida representative to United State senator to plausible presidential contender.
You probably didn’t hear much about this, though, because Donald Trump shot red, white, and blue paintballs at Latino preschoolers during a rally in South Carolina the same day the Rubio piece appeared online.
OK, Trump didn’t actually shoot Latino preschoolers with paintballs. They were black elementary school students, and it was a pellet gun. Semantics. Regardless, the toupeed tangerine’s toxic bigotry and supposedly incomprehensible but actually quite explainable ascension to GOP frontrunner has hypnotized the American people. Two-thirds want him strapped to a Saturn V and deported to Ganymede. The rest hope he cleanses the land of filthy foreigners and poorz so they don’t have to press 1 for English the next time they call the welfare office. Support him, hate him, or fucking HATE HIM, Trump sparks conversation. Which explains why he dominates media coverage inside and outside the Beltway.
That’s great news for Marco Rubio. It’s less great for America. Because Marco Rubio is a spectacular shitbag whose intellect, policies and experience, and electability should scare progressives — hell, should scare anyone with a functional medulla oblongata — far more than Trump.
Stop concerning yourself with Trump. Trump won’t be president. He won’t even be the nominee, beneficial as that may be for Democrats. Yes, he won New Hampshire and South Carolina. Yes, he’s leading in a whole slew of Super Tuesday states. Just chill. Without diving too deep into electoral math, all Rubio needs to do to survive Super Tuesday is get at least 20 percent of the vote in most primary states. Stats allocate their delegates proportionally once a candidate clears this bar. Of the 13 states holding Republican primaries on March 1, seven — Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont — distribute delegates using the 20 percent threshold process. Four more — Virginia, Alaska, Minnesota and Massachusetts — distribute proportionally with no minimum. This means Rubio, who will easily crack 20 percent with Jeb! gone and priests being summoned to the Carson and Kasich campaigns, stays within easy striking distance even if Trump wins every state. And he can close or altogether erase any gap two weeks later by finishing first in his home state of Florida, which awards the winner all 99 of its delegates.
Still awake? Point is, it’s increasingly likely neither Trump, Rubio nor Ted Cruz reaches the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination prior to the Republican National Convention in July. Which means a brokered convention. Which means Rubio becomes the nominee, because there’s zero chance GOP brahmins grant Trump the honor and less than zero chance they give it to Cruz, who’s actually less popular within the party than science. Republicans would rather vape their dead grandmother’s taint than let Cruz represent them in November. Rubio’s the guy.
“Whew,” progressives exclaim from their GMO-free treehouse in Safe Space, California, where they’re working on plans to eradicate Wall Street, Monsanto, college debt and gender-specific pronouns. “I’ll take the young cis-gendered person of Latin-American descent over that expired creamsicle any day.”
Silly progressives. First off, Rubio can be president. Trump can’t. Hillary Clinton (it’s going to be Clinton, people. Time to accept reality) might win 35-40 states if she squares off against Trump, including Arkansas. ARKANSAS! A state whose former governor finds the company of alleged child abusers more enjoyable than a garden salad. Second — and you’d never know this from most news coverage — Rubio is arguably more conservative than Trump. His positions on issues ranging from gay marriage to economics to gun ownership to immigration to foreign policy could make Ayn Rand’s mummified vagina gush like Old Faithful.
A $6.8 trillion tax cut for the wealthy. Undoing the Iran nuclear deal. Rolling back already laughable firearms gun restrictions. Appointing Scalia acolytes to the Supreme Court. Ordering American troops to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Shutting down areas where “radicals might be inspired.” Preventing Syrian refugees from entering the country. Deporting people brought here illegally as children (currently allowed to stay through the DREAM Act). Forcing rape victims to have their attacker’s child.
Ask random passersby to guess which Republican presidential candidate promotes these views, and chances are a substantial majority picks Trump without any hesitation. Rubio conceals his hyper-conservatism behind a carefully crafted Horatio Alger story and a beaming smile. It’s difficult for uninformed independents and the few remaining Rockefeller Republicans to believe someone with Rubio’s backstory and appearance is nothing more than hard-right Tea Party conservatism uploaded into new hardware. This guy would never adopt abominable social positions and disastrous economic policies, they think. He’s Latino just like all those struggling poorz!
Don’t be deceived. Rubio combines Ronald Reagan’s failed economic doctrine with Dubya’s intellectual incuriosity, Kylie Jenner’s prominence-to-accomplishment ratio, Mitt Romney’s naked ambition, and a replicant’s inability to pass a Turing test. The arrogance needed to run for president without a single substantial achievement to your name — at any level — would make even the most entitled Millennial uncomfortable. Being an effective president requires skills beyond the ability to deliver well-rehearsed soundbytes. Rubio’s infamous debate meltdown resonated so loudly because it validated the criticism that he’s a mindless automaton with only a superficial understanding of the issues facing this country. Trump doesn’t know shit about shit, either, but we act as if he’s the only buffoon left in the race.
If you read all this and remain concerned about Trump, worry he’ll falter down the stretch. Worry that his eroded, scum-encrusted mental filter will eventually let pass a statement of such stunning insensitivity that Republican voters will simply have no choice but to abandon their bloviating messiah. “The Ku Klux Klan was a hate group,” for instance. Or “Women and minorities are equal to white males in every possible way and deserve to be treated as such.” Crass, self-sabotaging statements like these remain the establishment’s last best hope that Trump will alienate conservative voters before the convention.
Trump is a repugnant individual with repugnant positions. His views shouldn’t become palatable when they’re delivered by someone with an exotic last name and a slightly better rug.