Saturday, November 05, 2016

Marco Rubio Losing Would Be the Best Thing That Could Happen to the GOP

I'm assuming -- perhaps too brightly, although even the most pessimistic projectors have Hillary Clinton the sizable favorite -- that Hillary Clinton will win Tuesday night, and Donald Trump will lose. Other Republicans will lose next week as well. Mark Kirk will lose. Ron Johnson will almost certainly lose (though the "almost" is a recent addition, and not the right trendline). Joe Heck might lose, if the massive Democratic wave in the early voting is any indicator.

Marco Rubio, by contrast, probably will not lose. And that's a shame.

It's not, truth be told, that I have any personal objections to Marco Rubio -- at least, no more so than come standard to pretty much any Republican these days. If anything, Rubio is probably an above-average Republican (not that that's saying much). In any event, my argument isn't based around Rubio needing to lose because he's particularly bad or malicious or anything of that nature. Rather, what I care about is whether there is any hope of the non-lunatic wing of the GOP to win its coming civil war. For it to do so, the bulk of the party will have to come to terms with the fact that the path it's currently on -- the path that led them to Trump -- is not sustainable. And to come to the realization, important Republicans -- those who stand a chance of leading the party in the future -- will have to personally experience pain. And loss.

Mark Kirk losing his seat will not cause anyone to undergo any soul-searching. Nor will losses by Ron Johnson, or Joe Heck, or Pat Toomey, or many of the other vulnerable-ish Republicans this year. The difference between Rubio and many other Republicans who might lose on Tuesday is that Rubio represents the future of the Republican Party -- at least, if it is to have any future. In office, Rubio hasn't really shown the moxie to stand up to the radicals of his party -- sure, he tried to do work on immigration, but he folded like a cheap suit in the face of right-wing pressure. If he's reelected, I expect him to continue in that largely go-along get-along fashion. But unlike most of his colleagues, Marco Rubio still matters to the GOP even if he loses reelection. And a Marco Rubio who goes from rising star to unemployed because of Donald Trump is a Marco Rubio who will be highly motivated to grab his Party by the jaw and wrench their eyes toward some uncomfortable truths.

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