Let me be very clear before I begin: Ted Cruz was not my first, second, or even third choice to be the Republican nominee for the 2016 Presidential election. I was hoping that a proven governor with a solid track record of leadership and economic growth and a sterling record of support for gun rights would survive the primaries, and unfortunately, that simply did not pan out.
We’re now left with three candidates*: businessman/reality television star Donald Trump, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator Ted Cruz.
As the editor of Bearing Arms and the primary administrator of the 2nd Amendment Supporters Facebook page, I am necessarily driven to examine the track records and claims of the these three viable candidates before we get any further into the race, and note how the nomination of these three men could impact the core natural right of self defense for 320 million American citizens.
Senator Marco Rubio seems to be a good person and a decent enough candidate. He’s smart, makes his points well, stays on message, and I can’t say anything ill about him as either a man or a candidate.
He has, however, been in favor of a local ordinances restricting the lawful carry of concealed weapons in public spaces in the past. He currently holds an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association as a Senator based upon his voting record, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.
But as a self-admitted “gun guy,” I have to also look at the commitment of candidates to the Second Amendment, and try to gauge how seriously they are vested in the natural human right to bear arms for the defense of the individual, the family, the community, and the Republic.
Senator Rubio is decidedly not a “gun guy.” He acquired a handgun once he reached the national stage, but it appears to be a rarely-used political prop. I’d hoped to find a picture of Senator Rubio at a firing range at least doing a staged “photo op.”
Marco Rubio does indeed talk about guns, and he says the right things about them when he does (for the most part), but he doesn’t shoot them.
There are pictures of Rubio holding firearms in gun shops on the campaign trail, but he is decidedly a moderate candidate who does not project a deep and personal commitment to gun rights. I fear what he might do if there is a Beslan-type terrorist attack and the fickle nature of public opinion temporarily sways in favor of reducing rights or banning certain firearms.
Would he stand with the Constitution, or allow himself to be swayed by temporary passions? I can’t answer that question and neither can anyone else with any degree of certainty, and that’s a problem if you’re looking at Senator Rubio purely from a gun rights perspective.
On the plus side, the polling data averages tracked by Real Clear Politics strongly suggest that Rubio would defeat Clinton in a head-to-head contest, and he only seems to be gaining in strength against Clinton over time. According to Real Clear Politics polling averages, he actually has the best chance of beating Clinton in the general election as well
Unfortunately, while Rubio is doing well in the polls in a head-to-head matchup against Clinton, he’s not doing so hot in the primaries themselves. He’s in a distant third behind Trump (292 delegates) and Cruz (188 delegates) with just 98 delegates so far. Can he turn that around in two weeks? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bet my money on it.
The smart money is still on Donald Trump, who is the surprising current front-runner on the Republican side of the slate.
*With all due respect, John Kasich is not running for President, but for Vice President.