The largest newspaper in Iowa, the Des Moines Register, has endorsed Senator Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination. “Sen. Marco Rubio has the potential to chart a new direction for the party, and perhaps the nation, with his message of restoring the American dream,” said an editorial in Sunday’s edition.
Republicans have the opportunity to define their party’s future in this election. They could choose anger, pessimism and fear. Or they could take a different path.
The party could channel that frustration and pursue true reform. It could renounce its fealty to the economic elite and its fixation with tax cuts for the wealthy.
It could instead emphasize the interests of the middle class and promote policies, not just rhetoric, that champion workers, families and small businesses. It could be the party of opportunity and optimism.
It could be the party in which the son of an immigrant bartender and maid could become president.
This is definitely a lukewarm endorsement:
The editorial board also values the executive experience, pragmatism and thoughtful policies of John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush. Yet most Republicans aren’t interested in rewarding a long resume this year. They want new and different.
Yes, we wish the first-term senator had greater experience. Yes, we wish he followed the lead of colleague Chuck Grassley and rarely missed a vote in the Senate.
Rubio has plenty to prove and many questions to answer if he is to unite the party’s factions.
On a scale of 1 to 10, the significance of this endorsement is less than 2 — and that’s a result of the free media buzz generated by the endorsement itself. It won’t change anyone’s mind. It won’t help make up anyone’s mind. The days are long gone when a newspaper endorsement could have a serious impact on a political race.
The paper also endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic caucuses, citing her “diplomatic experience.” This is a strange reason to endorse Clinton, whose “experience” has so thoroughly mucked up much of the world.
Rubio currently sits in 3rd place in many of the polls, but trails Cruz and Trump badly. In the expectations game, he needs to finish in double digits — something that a few recent polls show him coming up short of achieving. Getting into the upper teens would be surpassing expectations and give him a little momentum going into New Hampshire.
But for Rubio, something dramatic is going to have to happen to one of the frontrunners for him to have a serious shot at the nomination.