In January of 2013 before the nation knew Marco Rubio primarily as the face of the Gang of Eight comprehensive amnesty bill, he was at the top of Republican voters' preferences for the 2016 presidential nomination.
By the time Rubio and his Gang pushed the amnesty through the Senate that summer, the respected Public Policy Polling reported that he had plummeted to sixth place in popularity.
Here is what Public Policy Polling stated in July of 2013:
Marco Rubio, who had led all of our polling since December, has dropped all the way to 6th place. . . . Rubio was at 21 or 22% on all of our polls between January and March but his support has now dropped to half that level (10%)."
As the nation's political commentators attempt to explain the political collapse of the Florida Senator in the 2016 primaries, there is a tendency to understate the role of his betrayal on immigration. Rubio had challenged the Republican establishment in Florida by running against the retiring governor in the Republican primary. And he had won by highlighting the governor's support of amnesty and weakness on immigration enforcement, pledging to do the opposite.
But within two years (early 2013), he was pushing for the largest amnesty and biggest foreign worker increase in history.
In July of 2013, I blogged:
Rubio made the decision in January to become the face of the omnibus immigration bill, even allowing various special interest groups to run non-stop ads featuring him touting the legislation on conservative TV and radio, even though the bill was written primarily by the staff of New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.
"Rubio made sure that few Republican Primary voters across the nation would be unaware of his leadership for the giant bill. It was a huge gamble apparently based on national GOP consultants' belief that Rubio could convert conservative voters to his view that giving out some 30 million new green cards over the next decade would be good for the American people."
Rubio was on top of the Republican political world in January of 2013. Political sociologists will have much to ponder in the future on why Rubio risked it all to please the Republican establishment consultant class and the corporatist donor base by accepting their request for him to lead the Gang effort.
I consider Rubio and his Gang to have been guilty of economic violence against the most vulnerable workers of our national community.
Rubio's attempts since the summer of 2013 to distance himself from his Gang failed. I believe he could have recovered. But he failed because removing his tattoos wasn't enough. He never renounced the philosophy behind his Gang membership which was a philosophy of labor shortage. Throughout this primary campaign, Rubio has never indicated that he understands -- let alone supports -- the concept that immigration laws are designed most of all to protect the more vulnerable workers of a country from government-created labor surpluses.
In a year when the wage-earner voters have controlled the election outcomes in the Republican campaigns, Rubio never promised to push immigration legislation to limit legal numbers or enforcement to limit illegal numbers for the sake of struggling American workers.
While the eventual leaders -- Trump and Cruz -- showed their recognition of the importance of immigration policy to wage-earner voters, Rubio just couldn't break his ties with the old Gang.
ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Mar 30th 2016 @ 10:35am EDT