MEMBERS ONLY: How Marco Rubio is Helping Destroy the Future of his Party, and Himself

by Ben Cohen

The statement released by Marco Rubio on his continued support for Donald Trump today should be printed and studied in political science classes for years to come. It highlights the utter madness of the Republican leadership and reveals just how deep the deep rot within the party is. 

“I ran against Donald Trump. And while I respect that voters chose him as the GOP nominee, I have never hesitated to oppose his policies I disagree with,” said Rubio. 

“And I have consistently rejected his offensive rhetoric and behavior.”

“I disagree with him on many things, but I disagree with his opponent on virtually everything,” he continued. “I wish we had better choices for President. But I do not want Hillary Clinton to be our next President. And therefore my position has not changed.”

This is a position taken by many prominent Republicans, but for Rubio — a man once hailed as the future of the Republican Party —  to continue to endorse Trump shows that the party is completely beyond help. 

Before the primaries kicked off last year, Rubio was heralded as a modern Republican who could restore the image of the party as an all white boys club. Rubio is seen as being progressive on issues like immigration, and at only 45, is a young leader who could potentially reach out to younger generations. His failure to connect in the primaries cost his image dearly, but given the shifting demographics in America, he ostensibly has a bright career ahead of him if he manages to up his game on the national stage.  

But his continued endorsement of Trump is going to cost him in the long term — and badly. Rubio has put his Catholic faith at the forefront of his public persona and, is backing a man who talks about sexually assaulting women, ridicules women for their weight, and has resorted to the most despicable type of gutter politics we’ve seen in decades. If the party is to ever recover in any meaningful way, there will be huge recriminations for those who stood by Trump, and particularly the politicians who professed to be religious people of moral integrity. They will not be forgiven for abdicating their values when it really mattered in a viable Republican Party, and Rubio will find himself in political no-mans land. 

Of course this human friendly incarnation of the GOP is likely a long way off, but given the spectacular rate of implosion it could come sooner than we think. The Republican Party is collapsing in real time as Donald Trump lays waste to everything around him, and it is set to get a whole lot worse in the wake of what looks to be an almost certain Hillary Clinton victory. We really don’t know how fast it will be, but the current trajectory makes complete wreckage only a matter of months away. How quickly they can rebuild is again, completely unknowable, but there isn’t a chance in hell that it will return to its current strategy of political annihilation. As we have seen in other highly educated countries, the only workable model for a 21st century conservatism is a kinder, more open philosophy that speaks to new generations of voters who are concerned with issues like climate change, gender equality, and gay and minority rights. 

The fact that the Republican leadership is incapable of seeing this is proof that they deserve everything coming to them. Marco Rubio and others like him are putting short term politics ahead of not only their own country, but their own long term survival. The current set of leaders who cannot see this are simply incapable of leading the party out of this mess, and they will have to be purged by those who do. During a recent edition of ‘Meet The Press’, former John McCain campaign Steve Schmidt told Chuck Todd just how serious internal GOP problems are, and what he believes they need to do about it: 

What this [the emergence of Donald Trump] exposes, though, is much deeper and it goes to the Republican Party as an institution. This, this candidacy, the magnitude of its disgrace to the country is almost impossible, I think, to articulate. But it has exposed the intellectual rot in the Republican Party. It has exposed at a massive level the hypocrisy, the modern day money changers in the temple like Jerry Falwell Jr. And so, this party, to go forward and to represent a conservative vision for America, has great soul searching to do. And what we’ve seen and the danger for all of these candidates is over the course of the last year, these, these candidates who have repeatedly put their party ahead of their country, denying what is so obviously clear to anybody who’s watching about his complete and total manifest unfitness for this office.

Schmidt is a rare breed of Republican in that he is still attached to some form of objective reality. For the party to recover, they will need to listen to people like Schmidt and destroy the ‘rot’. If they don’t, they face irrelevance in national politics for generations to come. 

While Marco Rubio may have been the new face of the Republican Party, the truth is that he is anything but. A reformed, 21st century Republican Party must be decent and willing to put the interests of the nation before politics. This new Republican Party would never tolerate a candidate like Donald Trump, and would denounce anyone standing by him. It would recognize the dangers of electing a xenophobic misogynist with a frightening thirst for power, and take every measure possible to prevent him from running. 

If Marco Rubio had what it took to be the new face of the Republican Party, he would have led the charge against Donald Trump from the start and done everything in his power to stop him tearing his party and country apart. Instead, he put short term political ambition ahead of his party and his country, and will go down in flames with Trump in November. Rubio’s attempt to distance himself from Trump is months too late, and without an outright denouncement and withdrawal of his endorsement, it means nothing any way. 

Marco Rubio might even understand that sticking by Donald Trump will have a devastating impact on his career — it’s just that he’s too spineless to do anything about it.