Marco Rubio picked up a close third place in the Iowa caucus on Monday, outperforming all expectations and picking up the same number of delegates as second-place finisher Donald Trump.
"This is the moment they said would never happen. For months they told us we had no chance," Rubio said in a speech after the results were tallied. "But tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state sent a very clear message."
Gathered below are 13 reasons the senator from Florida could win The White House come November.
Urgent: Do You Support Marco Rubio for the GOP Nomination? Vote Here Now
1. He can unite the party
— With Sen. Ted Cruz and Trump both claiming "outsider" status in the election, Rubio has emerged as a top-tier candidate who promises to unite conservatives, libertarians, defense hawks, as well as a wide variety of ages and races under the banner of the Republican Party. "I'm not running to beat up on other Republicans. Ultimately, I'm running to unify this party," Rubio told CNN
on Tuesday. "I give us the best chance . . . to nominate a real conservative who can unite the party, grow the party . . . and ultimately defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders."
2. He represents hope, not anger
— "For months they told us because we offered too much optimism in a time of anger, we had no chance," Rubio said in his post-caucus speech in Iowa. Rubio has consistently showed hope instead of fear, with his campaign promising "A New American Century." Trump, meanwhile, has tapped into the anger and frustration voters have with what they see as a broken Washington. Ultimately, it is a message of hope that usually wins The White House.
3. He has Rush Limbaugh's support
— "Marco Rubio I really like," the radio powerhouse said on Tuesday after the Iowa caucus, Breitbart reported
. "He was the first to get out there. He hustled to get out there. As such, it made him look like the winner," he continued. "He had energy. I thought it was a great speech that Rubio gave last night. It was energetic."
4. He can win Florida, a crucial swing state
— Marco Rubio is a native of Florida, and stands a great chance of sweeping the state in the primary, wining all of the delegates, which are assigned on a winner-take-all basis. After that, he's likely to steal all 29 of its Electoral College votes in the general election, winning the nation's largest swing state for the Republicans.
5. He is the most likely candidate to beat Hillary Clinton
— According to a Real Clear Politics polling aggregate
, Rubio and Cruz are the most likely to beat Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head matchup, statistically speaking. Rubio edges her out by a healthy 2.5 points. Cruz, on the other hand, beats her by only 1.3 points, while Trump loses to Clinton in a head-to-head matchup by 2.7 points, according to the polls.
6. His foreign policy knowledge is unrivaled
— National security in the face of a growing ISIS threat has become a top issue in the presidential race after deadly terrorist attacks rocked Paris and San Bernardino last year. This shift in focus helps the Rubio campaign because he has foreign policy experience as a U.S. senator. In one Republican debate, Trump failed to demonstrate he understood what the nuclear triad even was, much less what he would do with it. Rubio, on the other hand, explained exactly what it was to the audience watching at home, and gave a very clear vision for how he would use it to protect and defend America.
Urgent: Who Should the GOP Nominate in 2016? Vote Here Now
7. He'll pick up votes from dropout candidates
— Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina have all benefited during the race from having never held elected office, saying that it will take a political outsider like them to clean up Washington. Among GOP voters who value prior political experience, however, Rubio gets high marks. As the field of candidates thins over the coming months, expect to see Rubio pick up the supporters of candidates who are bound to drop out of the race: Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and perhaps even Fiorina and Carson.
8. He has a record of conservative victories
— Fox News reported
that Rubio continues to earn praise for a provision he put in last year's spending bill that prohibits billion-dollar bailouts for private insurers under the Affordable Care Act. "He saved us money on Obamacare where others have simply wanted to repeal it. He has already saved $2.5 billion by eliminating an unreasonable backstop by the taxpayers for a failed program," said Rep. Darrell Issa, former chairman of the House oversight committee, who has endorsed Rubio.
9. He is young but experienced
— Unlike Trump, 69, Clinton, 68, and Bernie Sanders, 74, the 44-year-old Rubio is seen by many as a fresh-faced candidate with the energy to lead the country for eight years. Though he is young, he also has the experience, having served four terms in the Florida legislature, including as speaker of the House, majority leader, and majority whip.
10. He embodies the American dream
— While candidates like Trump and Bush were born into wealthy families, Rubio was born in Miami to poor Cuban parents who had fled the deadly rise of Fidel Castro. Through hard work, Rubio has risen to the top of American politics at a relatively young age, and his story resonates with a great many voters.
11. He can win the Hispanic vote
— As a Miami native who speaks fluent Spanish, Rubio stands a good chance of peeling away Hispanic voters that the Democrats have come to rely on in past elections.
12. He has Tea Party cred
— Rubio earned a perfect "100" rating from the American Conservative Union, and has been called the "crown prince" of the Tea Party movement by publications like The Washington Post
13. He passes the "I'd have a beer with that guy" test
— As the son of an immigrant bartender, a former college football player, and husband of a one-time NFL cheerleader, many see Rubio as the most down-to-earth candidate in the entire race.
Vote Now: Which GOP Candidate Would You Support in 2016?
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.