Marco Rubio’s Lowbrow Gamble — Both Sides of the Coin
When GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio recently decided to abandon his positive, aspirational message and go toe to toe with Donald Trump in the lowbrow realm of personal ad hominem attacks, I considered it one of the most ill-conceived PR moves I’d seen in years.
In just one week, Rubio had wrecked a brand it had taken years to develop.
Gone was the cheerful advocate and cheerleader for the unique brand of American freedom he so ably articulated through his unique story.
Instead, Rubio was now all about Trump’s hand size and record as a “con man” — an insult for insult slugfest.
But then came the short term strategic benefit: the media began to cover the campaign as a two man race between Trump and Rubio, with the charge and counter-charge the news of the day. Cruz disappeared altogether.
Team Rubio regained a foothold in the news cycle; Rubio supporters and pundits hailed the tactical genius of his communications team.
Yet then the next round of voting occurred and Rubio’s play for Virginia and other Super Tuesday states failed. Trump and Cruz — the two electoral victors — re-emerged as the principal combatants in the reporting, and Rubio was again marginalized.
The question now is whether the Rubio team made the right decision to trade in his brand for a temporary elevation in the news cycle at a critical time.
The answer, of course, is no. It was an inauthentic Rubio playing Trump’s game, at Trump’s level, and was destined for failure.