The tone in the closing days of the 2016 election is an indication of how much Democrats hate GOP nominee Donald Trump, but it turns out they are terrified of Marco Rubio and the vast potential he represents.
Included in the hacked emails published by WikiLeaks are exchanges with top-level party operatives that gives undecided voters a rare glimpse into what Democrats really thought of Rubio.
Given the content of those exchanges, it’s understandable why the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee invested heavily in trying to defeat the incumbent Cuban-American senator, who is being challenged by unaccomplished Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy.
And it may also explain why the DSCC all but conceded the race last week by pulling the remaining $2 million in ad time it had reserved to support Murphy.
Nonetheless, with Election Day just two weeks away and Florida voters already casting absentee ballots, voters still making up their minds are now privy to the inner thoughts of key Democrats.
…and the revelations bring more bad news for Patrick Murphy.
The treasure-trove of hacked emails show in their own words how much Democrats fear Rubio’s potential. They see his optimism as an “inspiring” choice for younger voters and even compare the Miami lawmaker to President Barack Obama and his meteoric rise in 2008.
High praise indeed, coming from Democrats.
“Many people smarter than me disagree but I would not want to run against Marco Rubio in a general election,” one California Democrat warned Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta in one email, according to The Washington Post.
And while these assessments were made in relation to the presidential election, the positive traits described certainly carry over to the Senate and go a long way toward assuring that Rubio will be a force to be reckoned with in the august body.
Even worse news for Murphy is his opponents appeal to independent voters.
Clinton pollster Joel Benenson expressed concern in February about Rubio’s centrist appeal, saying he was “beginning to worry more about Rubio than the others”
“He’s finding a way to the middle enough for now and he will be the most exciting choice to Republicans. Could pose a real threat with Latinos etc,” Benenson wrote.
In response to Rubio announcing his presidential run in April 2015, Clinton campaign consultant Christina Reynolds had her own concerns about Rubio’s appeal.
“He gives a good speech, and sounded much more reasonable, populist and accessible than much of the rest of the GOP field,” she wrote in an email to the campaign’s rapid-response group.
“Felt more like an inspiring Democratic speech than a GOP candidate, outside of foreign policy, repealing Obamacare and choice,” she continued. “Lots of references to ‘our generation’ (I.e. Him and younger voters) vs. ‘their generation’ (them being us, Jeb, his opponents, Washington).”
Even the media understands that there is a unique allure about Marco Rubio.
Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith said last week that Florida reporters most familiar with Rubio know he can sometimes be calculating.
“But most of us also recognize Rubio is a once-in-a-generation political talent with a great story and broad appeal,” Smith wrote. “[Donald] Trump has proved to be a gift to Clinton. Rubio, disciplined and smart, would have been a giant barrier.”
A barrier Patrick Murphy and his deep-pocketed father are unlikely to overcome November 8.
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