When it comes to Marco Rubio, there is a glaring difference when President Barack Obama and former President John F. Kennedy are concerned. Obviously, Rubio is a member of the Republican Party, while Kennedy and Obama are closely associated with the Democratic Party.
Nevertheless, some political analysts are saying there are more similarities among the three men than you might think.
For example, according to Michael Brendan Dougherty of the Week, “Rubio is running on his biography more than he is running on position papers,” and he’s not the first president to do so.
Marco Rubio’s diverse background as the son of Cuban immigrants has helped him paint himself as someone who’s lived out the American Dream, while his religious ambiguity helps him to appeal to more voters. Dougherty writes as follows.
“The multiplicity of Rubio’s identities doesn’t make him illegible, it makes him intriguing. And it gives different groups of voters different ways of relating to him.”
If you’ll remember Obama did something similar with his ability to cross racial and political lines. He’s black, but he’s often touted as “not black enough.” And, Dougherty notes, Obama was born in Hawaii, but his home base was Chicago — two places with extremely different politics.
Kennedy did something similar, as well. Before Kennedy began his campaign for the presidency, few believed a Catholic could be elected to public office. Nevertheless, Kennedy found a way to appeal to wildly different groups at the same time. By then, the Kennedy family had become very wealthy, yet through his Catholic background, Kennedy was able to appeal to poor Catholic immigrants who had recently moved to the United States.
Rubio does the same. Though he is one of the least wealthy politicians in Congress, Marco Rubio still receives a yearly salary which is significantly larger than the average American. Yet, Rubio’s entire goal is to make voters forget that he earned more than $300,000 in 2014 and has a net worth of more than $800,000.
During his speeches, Rubio is quick to remind voters that, not long ago, he, too, was in a tough financial situation, as he often speaks about his student loan debt and the meager beginnings his parents faced when they moved to the United States. Rubio frequently notes that his father was a bartender and his mother picked up odd jobs to help make ends meet.
Often, Rubio segues to examples of how he was able to live the American Dream, much like Obama and Kennedy did in their own campaigns.
Though his politics may be different, Rubio certainly has something in common with the politicians before him: Through his unique biographical background, Rubio has found a way to connect to voters across many different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many political pundits believe Marco Rubio’s ability to to make a plethora of different groups feel as if he represents them specifically could serve him well.
What do you think? Do you think his biographical background, which is different from many other candidates running for the Republican nomination, helps or hurts Marco Rubio?
[Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]