I am an advocate of free trade and was disappointing to see Rubio defend sugar quotas, but everyone has their faults and that is a minor concern. Also, Rubio sometimes seems so programmed that he can not deviate from the canned speech, but every candidate has their standard stump speech and talking points. Also, Rubio has missed some important votes in the Senate. Those are all minor criticisms however.
Rubio is accused of being soft on immigration but I do not fault him for that. When he says he will secure the border first, I believe him. I think the harsh rhetoric on immigration coming from some candidates will hurt Republicans and I also think it is simply unnecessarily hateful. I think anyone who thinks we are going to round up and deport 12 million or more illegal immigrants is simply living in a dream world. Eventually we are going to have to let them come out of the shadows and legalized their status. Also as a tactical political strategy, Republicans are going to lose future elections if we cannot attract minorities. By 2050 white non-Hispanics will be the minority in this country. We need to attract Hispanics to the Republican Party. I think Rubio would be the candidate most likely to woo Hispanics, young people, dissatisfied Democrats and independents to vote Republican. I think his personal story, his youth, his good looks and his message of optimism makes him the most attractive candidate. I also feel he is the one candidate who could straddle the divide between establishment Republicans and tea party Republicans.
Prior to settling on Rubio, I was initially torn between Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio. When the other two dropped out of the race I settled on Rubio. Occasionally I have wavered between Rubio and Cruz. Cruz throws out the red meat and I like what he has to say, but I have my reservations also. It is widely reported that he is not very well liked by his colleagues in the Senate. If that is so, how can he build a coalition to pass an agenda? Also, when he did his famous "filibuster" on raising the debt ceiling in which he read Green Eggs and Ham, I thought it was a self-promoting stunt. The outcome of that vote was never in doubt. Cruz to me seems earnest and dedicated to principle but he turns me off by being a little to evangelical. I do not mean "evangelical" in the religious sense but it seems a little too preachy, or dogmatic. In my view, he comes across as a self-righteous televangelist. That is more style than substance however, but Cruz just does not seem that likable except to people who already like him. I doubt he is going to attract people to vote Republican who are not already Republican.
The other candidates have all had their moments in which I liked what they had to say but I was never tempted to vote for any of them. I am over the Bushes and do not want Jeb. Both John Kasich and Chis Christie never seemed conservative enough for my taste. I never got over fearing Rand Paul was too much of an isolationist in order to support his candidacy, although he said many other things I really liked. I think Ben Carson is probably one of the nicest people running, but I don't know that nice can win and while there is something attractive about an outsider, I want someone with some relevant experience to be our next President.
So what about Trump? Trump is the candidate I least want to see get the nomination. Some of my good Republican friends are enthusiastic Trump supporters but, quite honestly, Trump scares me. He does not scare me as much as Hillary or Bernie and if he is the Party's candidate I will support him, but I hope he is not the nominee. He scares me because I fear he will start a trade war. I don't know enough to know that China's currency manipulation rises to the level of risking a trade war, but I am not ready to risk it. I also do not buy the argument that we can impose tariffs on Mexico to make Mexico pay for a massive wall along the southern border. In my view, the mechanism that has been developed to lower tariffs under both Republicans and Democrats should not be abandoned. If we unilaterally impose tariffs there will be retaliation. I fear a trade war could lead to a world wide depression.
Also, I simply do not trust Trump. I do not believe he has any core values. I do not understand why he is the most hated candidate among Democrats because the reason I do not like him should make him more attractive to Democrats. I do not believe he is a real conservative. He had defended Planned Parenthood, he has justified using eminent domain to take the property of individuals for economic development, he has been soft on the Second Amendment and he has contributed money to Democrat candidates. I am not certain he would appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. I understand some of his appeal. He refused to play the political correctness game and says what he thinks and people find that refreshing. I think, however, that Trump is a populist playing on popular resentments and fears rather than being a true conservative. Who knows how he would govern?
If you have not already voted, please cast a vote for Marco Rubio.