“Anybody but Trump.”
The middle-aged woman waiting to hear Marco Rubio bluntly stated what many in the crowd of about 1,500 people seemed to be thinking. Trump is “the most arrogant, rude, narcissistic politician I think I have ever heard,” and that is one reason why she thinks Rubio is “by far the most electable.”
“Electable” was the word repeated over and over by Rubio and dozens of his supporters The UpTake interviewed at his Minneapolis rally a week before Minnesota’s March 1 caucuses.
“We have to nominate someone in the Republican party that has a chance of winning the election,” Rubio told the crowd. “I know I can win this election. You know who else knows I can win this election? The Democrats know I can win this election.”
Without mentioning Trump, Rubio warned about making Trump the Republican nominee. “This cannot be an election about nominating someone just to make a point. This can’t just be an election nominating about someone because they seem angrier than everybody else. We’re all angry. We’re all frustrated.”
Rubio supporters were of the same mind. “Well I think he (Rubio) has the best chance to beat Hillary by far,” said a younger supporter. “He appeals to all demographics. And obviously we don’t want another Democrat in office.”
An older woman drew a contrast between Rubio and Trump. “He (Trump) is not running a campaign where he’s bad mouthing the other parties. (Rubio) is running a clean… and I like his positions. I think he’ll be a good president.”
This Rubio rally at the downtown Hyatt hotel drew several groups of younger voters. Five young men from Fridley’s private Totino-Grace High School were asked if they were the “Rubio brigade.” “Yeah” they answered in unison. “We’re the youth brigade” said one. They were planning to vote this year.
One woman was with a group of Freshmen from the University of St. Thomas. She said she was there to “get informed” but was a “fan of Marco Rubio, for sure.” “He’s my favorite Republican candidate. And for awhile there was a lot of discrepancies between the other candidates, and I feel that Marco Rubio is just a really good stand out guy and he is genuine.”
“I really like Marco’s stance on national defense,” said another young voter. I think he could keep the country safe which is why I’m very supportive of him.”
Rubio has proposed spending an additional trillion dollars on the military over the next ten years, but has not said how he would pay for that increase — a position that has drawn criticism from fiscal conservatives.
Ted Cruz is another Trump alternative, but some of his campaign tactics have turned off potential supporters in Minnesota. “I was supporting Ted, but he (Rubio) doesn’t pull dirty tricks,” said a new Rubio supporter.
Conservatives supporting Rubio believe that he can help turn back the clock on some “moral issues.” “I support marriage between one man and one woman,” said an older female Rubio supporter who also cited preventing abortions as an important issue.”I think our country is falling apart because we’ve lost the stance that our country was founded on.”
A Minneapolis Star Tribune poll done a month ago found Rubio with a small lead over Trump, but it was still within the margin of error. And that was before several of the other candidates dropped out. Since then, Trump’s appeal has grown in national polls as he amassed wins in several states.
That worries one of Rubio’s older female supporters. “I think Donald Trump is the Democrat’s dream come true,” she said. But Rubio “is the Democrat’s worst nightmare.”
Video at top: Rubio highlights and supporter interviews
Video below: First 16 minutes of Rubio’s speech in Minneapolis
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