The Corner

Marco Rubio Showed the Better Way to Win

One of the most encouraging aspects of the 2016 election is that a number of Republicans showed there’s more than one way to beat a Democrat. Indeed, in contested states, conservative senate candidates consistently out-polled Trump, taking very different approaches and piling up larger vote totals and sometimes-decisive margins.

Take Marco Rubio, a senator left for dead months ago but is now better described as the Boy Who Lived. Politico has the details:

In terms of his 714,000, 7.7 percentage-point margin in the general election, Rubio won more than 6 times that of Trump in Florida. The billionaire businessman beat the former secretary of state by about 114,000 votes, or 1.2 percentage points. Rubio garnered almost 52 percent of the vote in the U.S. Senate race, while Trump earned a little more than 49 percent in the presidential race.

In all, Rubio received almost 218,000 more votes than Trump.

How did he do it? In part by aggressively appealing to the Democrats’ Latino and African-American base:

For a modern-day Republican in a presidential election year, the bilingual Rubio won historic shares of support from Hispanics (48 percent) and African-Americans (17 percent), exit polls showed. He even carried a majority-black Jacksonville precinct.

And when you fight for black voters, black voters can indeed vote for a Republican

The campaign also had separate programs reaching out to voters of Cuban-American, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan and Colombian descent. It mined for votes in Miami’s Haitian American community and made inroads in traditionally African-American quarters of the electorate.

Rubio’s outspoken criticism of the “slumlord” company that runs the Eureka Gardens housing project in Jacksonville earned him such goodwill that he won the neighborhood precinct by 4 percentage points.

As Patrick Ruffini tweeted, “We win when we show up.”

This is the blueprint for the future – one that doesn’t rely on identity politics but instead on mobilizing citizens as Americans, not interest groups. The Democrats presume their future dominance by presuming their indefinite, overwhelming hold on Black and Latino votes. Rubio’s Florida win showed those presumptions can be wrong.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Great Misdirection

The House Democrats are frustrated, very frustrated. They’ve gotten themselves entangled in procedural disputes with the Trump administration that no one particularly cares about and that might be litigated for a very long time. A Washington Post report over the weekend spelled out how stymied Democrats ... Read More

Australia’s Voters Reject Leftist Ideas

Hell hath no fury greater than left-wingers who lose an election in a surprise upset. Think Brexit in 2016. Think Trump’s victory the same year. Now add Australia. Conservative prime minister Scott Morrison shocked pollsters and pundits alike with his victory on Saturday, and the reaction has been brutal ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More

Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
Film & TV

Game of Thrones: A Father’s Legacy Endures

Warning! If you don't want to read any spoilers from last night's series finale of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Right now. There is a lot to unpack about the Thrones finale, and I fully understand many of the criticisms I read on Twitter and elsewhere. Yes, the show was compressed. Yes, there were moments ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More