Why Do I Hate Marco Rubio’s New Ad Aimed at Voters Like Me?

Sen. Marco Rubio is a good man, a strong pro-life voice, and the most conservative, quasi-establishment candidate we have ever seen.  He’s released an ad that CNN describes as honing his pitch to traditional values voters. I ought to love it.  He specifically calls out the problem that millions of loving, law-abiding people are being branded as haters and bigots.

He embeds it in a narrative about Americans feeling out of place in their own country, including a generation drowning in debt, and a middle class facing stagnant wages and rising prices. He’s saying everything we argued a candidate should do, and the fact the most establishment candidate left standing is talking like this is definitely a good thing.

So why do I hate it? Because it is so perfectly poll-tested and honed. Because I can’t tell watching this ad what he will do about it.

“Trust me, I understand you” is the pitch. And that makes hair rise on the back of my neck.

Is this unfair to Rubio? Probably. This is not a judgement on Rubio, just an emotional reaction, if it’s helpful to campaigns who want to appeal to voters like me.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.