... In the same year Rand Paul won [his Senate seat], the man who started the major revolt between grassroots activists and party leaders ran. It was the Rubio race that really exposed the divide between the base and the leadership...."Rubio worked to not undermine his relations with the grassroots"? That's hilarious. Erickson tries to paper over the huge, fatal mistake Rubio made by pursuing immigration reform, but the folks in the GOP grassroots despised that effort and still do. Go read the Free Republic thread I quoted in my last post if you doubt that, or go to this Nate Cohn post and look at the chart of Rubio's plummeting poll numbers among Republicans ever since he went over to what the base considers he immigration dark side (as it were).
Rubio, over 2009, rose in the polls from three percent to victory....
Once in Washington, Rubio remained a favorite of the grassroots until he tried to cut a deal with the Democrats on immigration. To his credit, he went on Rush Limbaugh’s program to defend it. He made aggressive outreach to conservatives behind the scenes. But it hurt him and the deal died.
Since then, Rubio has been very quiet. Behind the scenes, he has voted quite often with Senators Cruz and Mike Lee of Utah. He has been a voice for fiscal sanity, small government, and strong foreign policy....
Rubio ... is the original Tea Party candidate. His candidacy united the grassroots against the leadership and he won. The Washington crowd convinced themselves he could not win, but the grassroots proved they could pick a winner. Rubio was the first.
While Cruz and Paul began forging coalitions, Rubio worked to not undermine his relations with the grassroots while not antagonizing the establishment.
Yet Erickson is still defending Rubio. He laughably describes Rubio as one of three "grassroots revolutionaries," along with Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.
Why is Erickson doing this? In large part because Rubio cares about what's really important to insider extremists like Erickson: maximal tax and regulatory relief for the already obscenely wealthy and underregulated, and maximal defense spending. All other issues, including immigration nativism, are just "Judas goat" issues, issues meant to keep the crazy base angry and loyally voting for the party that wants to give the most to plutocrats and defense contractors.
Unfortunately for Rubio and Erickson, crazy-base voters actually take all that "seal the borders" talk very, very seriously. It's not an issue on which the're willing to make tradeoffs.
So sorry, Erick, but your pal Rubio is toast.