Duel of Extremes

It’s high time that Donald Trump had a clear Republican competitor. Marco Rubio could take on the role of the more moderate candidate, although he is really a hardliner too.

He’s Done it Again

In the primaries in Nevada, Donald Trump has finished in first place, receiving the majority of the delegates’ votes. The fact that the controversial billionaire has now won three of the four primaries so far shows that media attention really can turn into votes. But these results don’t necessarily mean that the former reality TV star could actually enter into the duel for the White House, or could even become president. Not yet. After all, Trump only has 81 of the 1,237 delegate votes necessary to win the Republican nomination.

But it’s high time that Trump had a clear opponent. In the next three weeks, over 1,300 delegate votes will be cast in the primaries, although the majority are proportional and not under the winner takes all principle. As long as there are still four candidates fighting for non-Trump voters, the billionaire will easily consolidate his advantage over the rest of the field.

Currently, there are plenty of indications that Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida will become the establishment candidate. Since his mentor and competitor Jeb Bush dropped out, more and more leading Republicans and voters are getting behind him. The role of the antagonist in the Republican election drama seems tailor-made for Rubio. At 44, he comes across as considerably fresher than the 69-year-old Trump. He has Cuban roots and just enough political experience to have a track record, but not to be considered a Washington insider.

But only in comparison with Trump and the likewise radical market crier Ted Cruz, who is also fighting to become Trump’s challenger, does Rubio appear moderate. Elected to the Senate in 2010 as part of the tea party movement, his views are in fact extreme. He thinks waterboarding is a legitimate interrogation method and is strictly opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage. He would undo both Obama’s health care reforms and the rapprochement with Iran. Rubio now has a tough stance even toward illegal immigrants, although he initially supported an immigration reform in 2013. When a political headwind came his way, he turned his back on his intention. So it seems almost an irony of history that Rubio of all people could now be cast in the role of the moderate.

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