Marco Rubio Faces Uphill Race For White House


On paper, Marco Rubio could be exactly what the Republicans need to win back the presidency.

He’s young, telegenic, Hispanic and firmly in the middle of the road of Republican politics.

All useful qualities in appealing to voters beyond the party. His power base is Florida, a crucial swing state.

Sen Rubio will hope his roots will help address that deficit.

His carefully crafted image is as an all-American father and husband.

A campaign video celebrates those roles and his job as coach to his kids’ football team above his political achievements.

Supporters hope he’ll be seen as an antidote to the shrill extremism of others in his party.

But before any of that broader appeal has a chance of working in his favour, he must survive the Republican party’s gruelling primary contest.

And part of that appeal may prove his undoing.

His involvement in negotiating the 2013 immigration reform bill might make him more appealing to Hispanics and beyond, illustrating pragmatic deal-making abilities that the public regard as sorely lacking in Washington.

But conservatives have pummelled him for it and will continue to do so as the primary season unfolds.

His youth and lack of experience could also prove a handicap.

Not least because lambasting President Barack Obama for his supposed lack of experience has been a mantra among Republicans for the last eight years.

Mr Obama served only three-and-a-half years in the US Senate before being elected to the highest office in the land.

Americans unimpressed with his record may be loath to repeat the experiment with another young senator, regardless of their political persuasion.

Thus far Sen Rubio’s polling has been unimpressive, putting him somewhere towards the back of a crowded field of potential contenders.

His aides put much of that down to a lack of exposure.

He’ll need to make up for that, and quickly.

Sen Rubio’s other great challenge is Jeb Bush.

The former governor of Florida was once a patron and mentor to the younger politician.

His apparent intention (although not yet officially declared) to run makes matters much messier for Sen Rubio.

Even if Sen Rubio makes it through the early states in the primary contest, a Bush victory in Florida could finish his chances.

Mr Bush is already raising tens of millions of dollars and will be focusing much of his firepower on securing that outcome.

But politics is about surprises.

Sen Rubio has already reportedly put together an impressive campaign team.

He has youth, passion and conviction on his side as well as persuasive oratory and so far has reportedly found no shortage of donors