As I watched the craziness and passion of the Iowa caucuses and the excitement around this year’s first primary races—Cruz’s victory, Trump’s disappointing show, and the Hillary/Sanders tie—the surprise of the night was Marco Rubio’s unexpected success! His optimistic, unifying campaign message and young Reaganesque persona is in sharp contrast to the divisive rhetoric and negative personal attacks. For the GOP faithful, there are many candidates remaining worthy of support, but it’s Marco Rubio who’s positioned himself to ride a strong, optimistic campaign into a November victory. Here’s my Rubio-inspired vision for election night, November 8th.
It is 11:13 PM EST, when both Fox News and NBC have given the presidential race to Marco Rubio. The enthusiastic crowd applauds as his family joins him on the stage. His hands raised in victory, his ready smile unleashed on his supporters and an attentive, national TV audience, Marco Rubio addresses America:
“Thank you America! As you know, Fox News and NBC have called the election in our favor. Hillary Clinton has graciously called to congratulate me. She’s run a hard campaign, and I applaud her efforts and the work of so many Americans who supported her.
“I told you that I would unite our party in support of conservative principles and longstanding American values, and we have! But now, it’s time to come together and unite America in doing the work required to unleash our economy and the innovation of our citizens. American caring is not defined by the number of citizens dependent on government programs, but by the strength and vitality of our economy that creates jobs and lets more citizens earn their own American Dream.
“For those of you who did not vote for me, I’m your president, too. I don’t ask you to believe in me. I ask you to believe in yourselves. The success of America does not depend on what happens here in Washington as much as what happens in your homes, whether in Iowa, New Hampshire, Texas, or California. My parents came here as immigrants and worked hard to achieve their own dream. As your first Hispanic-American President, I’m a living testament to what America means to a young boy who was told that anyone can become president. I believed it, and now I’m living it.
“In far too many cases, it’s the attackers and the complainers who get the headlines. But this is not the America I’ve come to know campaigning across this great land. The media underestimates the strength and character of you, our citizens. You want a country you can proud of again, and I promise to work together with you to deliver on that vision.
“I’ll be working with President Obama to make a smooth transition. I’ll be busy finding like-minded leaders to join my cabinet and fill critical positions in my administration. I believe in collaborative problem solving. In my administration, we’re open to solutions from wherever they come. You’ll be happy to know that I’ll keep my “executive actions” to a minimum.
“Thank you for giving me a House and Senate I can work with. We’ve heard your message loud and clear. You want more than talk; you want action. I have a track record of working with my colleagues in the Senate and in Congress. We’ll work together with our Democratic colleagues where we can. Let’s work to disagree without being divisive or disagreeable.
“I know I’m the only thing between you and a celebration party. First, let me thank you for all you did to make this night possible. You’ve been amazing. I also want to thank my family for their support, encouragement, and their undying belief in me. It’s time to party! May God bless America, and may God bless you and yours!”
Attacking others may get you coverage and headlines, but it won’t lead America to a future we can be proud of. John W. Gardner wisely said, “The first and last task of a leader is to keep hope alive.” There’s nothing “establishment” about Marco Rubio. He’s the son of a Cuban immigrant who wants to ensure that the American Dream remains strong for future generations. As long as stays focused on keeping hope alive, he may do just that.