Establishment darling and purported “savior of the party” Sen. Marco Rubio lost his own state to juggernaut Donald Trump. Hours after proclaiming that he’d stay in until the end, he didn’t even wait for the votes to be counted in Florida, where his political career started and has now shriveled and died on the vine in the hot sunshine. In the 2010 general election for Senate, Rubio won nearly 50% of the statewide vote and almost 2.5 million votes overall. Just six short years later, Rubio will probably only manage to win about 1 million votes against the most cruel, con-artist Johnny-come-Republican-lately candidate Trump.
Maybe it’s because Rubio became a shill for the Koch Brothers, for private prisons – basically anyone with cash. Maybe it’s because Rubio flipped his stance on abortion from terrible to terrifying, and lied about it, a lot. Maybe it’s because Rubio the Latino, whose parents immigrated to the US bringing his grandfather – who worked for Castro after the Revolution – illegally a few years later, turned around and decided that the next Marco Rubio should be deported. Maybe it’s because Marco keeps the hardest, hard line anti-Cuba position when the rest of the country and even his anti-Castro hometown have moved on.
Rubio’s biggest accomplishment in the United State Senate was passing the Gang of Eight immigration bill, which would’ve helped millions of Latinos and others already living in this country. But in order to pander to white conservatives, he turned his back on it and let Ted Cruz shut down the government over the bill. Rubio couldn’t be bothered to show up, let alone lobby for the only piece of important legislation he’d been involved in during the prior three years or would see for the next three years.
Rubio began his political career as a typical Miami politician, slick and ready to lobby, with just a touch more intelligence and a whole lot more ambition. But over the short span of ten years, Marco Rubio transformed himself into a hard-right Republican Tea Party darling so deep in the pockets of the Koch brothers that by 2016 he became unrecognizable by even those in his hometown and ultimately by his own home state voters. Rubio’s political career was carefully steered through the 2000s by Miami’s most notoriously corrupt politician, David Rivera, and his alliance with Jeb Bush. Rubio was so far in bed with Rivera, that he bought a home with the guy, and then later let it fall into foreclosure, before selling it at a loss. When your greatest political benefactor is the most loathed, corrupt villainous politician in a state known for awful politicians and a city known for corrupt deals, it speaks volumes about a politician’s true nature.
It bears only “honorable” mention that Rubio basically destroyed his political mentor Jeb Bush as the two shortsightedly fought when there was absolutely no need, setting the stage for the rise of Trump and his fascist wing of the Republican Party. Bush once gave Rubio a sword as a gift, which he probably regrets as it was used to cut off his legs last October in the, “you’re only attacking me because you think it will help in the polls” debate moment. But, clearly Jeb Bush had solid reasons to attack his lazy, self-star struck former protege, the least of which being that Rubio’s thirst for higher office completely overwhelmed any sense of public service or his desire for any actual accomplishments as a legislator.
Rubio rode the Koch-funded Tea Party wave and since then has done stunning little in general, but especially little outside of running for President. The robotic manner in which Rubio repeated himself in this year’s most famous New Hampshire debate is little accident. Rubio will no longer plague the American people; by running for President, he has forsaken his Senate seat and cannot run for re-election. Good riddance to the extremist masquerading as a moderate, the corporate shill with no regard for the people who voted for him, the guy notorious for not even showing up to work, the guy so despised he lost his home state. Where there were once seventeen, now only Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich remain. Only time will tell if anyone can stop the relentless rise of Trump’s fascism.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition