Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio

The rise of the anti-establishment candidates like Trump and Carson have led to the collapse of many candidates who many favored just a few months ago. Scott Walker was leading the pack of reformist conservative governors who were ready to take charge, but by the end of the summer, many candidates were either gone or struggling in the single digits. Jeb Bush was to be the favorite of the establishment, but now his campaign is sitting on the abyss and John Kasich might as well join fellow Governors Walker and Jindal in suspending his campaign. Others like Chris Christie are waiting for lightening to strike, but the reality is that there are three serious candidates, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. While Ben Carson is still in double digits, he can’t win Iowa, his campaign is over and right now, he is behind Trump and Cruz.

Both Cruz and Rubio are 44-years-old and in the year of Trump, these young Republicans are what is left besides Trump who can actually win the nomination. The future is now for these two Republicans. Rubio's family came to America from Cuba and Cruz’s father also migrated from Cuba, but their Cuban origins hide differences. Rubio is Roman Catholic and Ted Cruz is Southern Baptist, but before Rubio moved to the Senate, he was a Florida legislator, which included being the Speaker of the House; whereas Cruz worked in Bush’s Department of Justice and FTC before moving to being the Solicitor General for Texas, which included arguing in front of the Supreme Court.

There is no doubt that while both men are young, they will bring in more experience in actually governing than our present President whose four year Senate career was preceeded by experience of being a back bencher in the Illinois legislation. Rubio was a leader in the Florida House and Cruz worked in Washington and argued some of the bigger cases drafting the amicus brief for Heller, a significant victory for gun rights, signed by 31 Attorney Generals.

There are differences between the two that reflects the differences within the Republican Party. Rubio's tax plans depends upon tax credits for the Middle Class and promotes family values through the tax system, plus he leaves the top rates at 35%, which is only a slight drop from the present system; whereas Ted Cruz is a straight 10 percent tax rate plus a 16 percent tax rate on business that acts as value added tax. In foreign affairs, Rubio is more of an interventionist, whereas Cruz is a return to the pre-9/11 more modest foreign affairs and is now supporting a Gold Standard for monetary policy, adopting aspects of the Rand Paul agenda. This debate reflects a divide among Republicans between those who view tax reform as the Holy Grail and those who view that increasing the Middle Class income is the primary objections.

Both men are social conservatives and supporter of gun rights with Cruz having actually argued gun rights cases in front of Supreme Court. Cruz has made it clear that he is opposed to crony capitalism including ethanol and the sugar cartel, the latter supported by Rubio. (Sugar is one of those things that Florida politicians support just as Iowan politicians support ethanol.)

Rubio has more support from the Republican establishment than Cruz, who is hardly an establishment favorite. (A friend of mine who has connections to the United States Senate mentioned that Cruz is one of the least favorites among his Republican colleagues.) The irony is that Rubio was not the establishment favorite when he ran for the Senate, as they favored Charlie Crist, who is now a Democrat. Oh yeah, Donald Trump contributed to Crist and Cruz challenged the establishment favorite when he won his Senate race in Texas. Both men can easily make the case they are not part of the establishment, but there is no doubt that many who have given their donation to Bush would prefer Rubio over Cruz.

Cruz has now taken the lead in Iowa, and Rubio has gained ground at the expense of Bush, but both are behind Trump on national polls. For all intent, they are the main challenger to Trump. Then there is the fact that both men have conservative records as Red State blog noted that the Cruz Heritage Action ranking is 100% and Rubio is 94%. So if conservatism is important then obviously Republican activists might consider either one of these two since either one is more conservative than Trump.


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