Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Noelle Coultrip at Noelle.Coultrip@colorado.edu
Coming into the GOP debate, Sen. Marco Rubio’s extreme views and lack of experience posed a problem for critics. Specifically, his tax plan generated much controversy. Simplifying the tax bracket into two categories — 15 percent for singles with income up to $75,000 and $150,000 for joint filers, and 35 percent for any income greater than $150,000 — has proved difficult for either party to swallow in past months.
Despite the negatively worded questions aimed at Rubio and the personal attacks regarding his past financial problems, Rubio answered with ease, never tripping up or missing a beat. When Jeb Bush suggested that Rubio “show up to work” in the Senate, Rubio responded that Bush was only attacking him to get ahead, and that he never criticized John McCain for missing votes in the same way. No matter the attacks that were hurled at Rubio, he somehow managed to make himself seem like the calm, level-headed candidate, dispelling all feelings of competition.
“I am not running against anyone on this stage,” Rubio said. “I am running for president.”
Throughout the night, Rubio was consistent with the theme of hope for America’s future generations. Compared to his fellow Republican candidates, Rubio focused much more on tugging on the heart strings of the American voters, connecting to the softer side of the American public.
Sidestepping a question exposing his intermingling of personal and government money, Rubio pressed on with a story about his father’s struggles as a bartender and his mother’s struggles as a maid, trying to form a connection between himself and the millions of people that struggle financially in this country.
He said that the election isn’t about his problems, but the financial burdens that many Americans carry. Of course, Rubio took advantage of the opportunity to speak at length by pushing his pro-family tax plan, explaining how it will eliminate financial troubles for Americans, while simultaneously bashing Hillary Clinton, like most of the candidates did.
Later in the night, it was brought up that Donald Trump referred to Rubio as “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator,” bashing Rubio for his support of the H1-B visa program. After Trump went back and forth with a moderator, Rubio took the opportunity to respond negatively about Clinton and the mainstream media, to applause from the crowd.
As the debate wound down, Rubio expressed his opinion on two topics that are of great interest to Americans: his controversial tax plan and his stance on illegal immigration.
Regarding his tax plan, Rubio further explained why it would actually benefit low-income families, further branding himself as “a champion of Americans living paycheck to paycheck.”
Rubio also tackled the immigration issue by bashing the way in which America deals with illegal immigration. To him, it matters whether illegal immigrants want to come here just for the benefits, or to actually immerse themselves in American society. Throughout the night, Rubio relied on his earnest and hopeful rhetoric to gain popularity.
In closing statements, Rubio continued to talk about “the American Dream,” his family’s struggles with it, and how vital it is that this dream reach as many people as possible. As a whole, Rubio’s personal stories and smooth talking benefited him in Wednesday night’s debate, potentially attracting more voters.