Don’t let the calendar fool you. It’s already 2016.
Like it or not, the Elections Industrial Complex has unofficially declared it so.
We are in a state of constant campaigns brought to you by the political-consultant class, polarizing bloggers, cable TV personalities, political reporters and the ubiquitous partisan trolls who patrol Twitter in search of the latest outrage.
And they’re eying and arguing nonstop over people like Marco Rubio, Florida’s junior senator.
It won’t let up. Rubio will be a key surrogate in the mid-term elections in 2014 and he’ll play a major role in the next presidential election.
The first wave of post-election Rubio-related stories was fairly predictable, premised on the whither-the-GOP storyline after President Obama won a second term. As the most high-profile Hispanic Republican, Rubio was indispensible to a narrative about attracting minority support. His name was repeatedly mentioned as a 2016 presidential hopeful.
It didn’t hurt that Rubio, 11 days after the election, attended a birthday fundraiser for the governor of Iowa, site of the first GOP presidential caucuses four years hence.
Rubio actually accepted the invitation months before, during the Republican National Convention in Tampa. He expected Mitt Romney would actually have won the presidential contest Nov. 6, so Rubio’s attendance in Iowa wouldn’t have looked like a premature bid for national office.
This context got nary a mention in the Elections Industrial Complex. It didn’t fit the narrative. So it was discarded or never pondered by some. The Elections Industrial Complex thrives off conflict, contradictions and gaffes. It minimizes similarity and nuance in the cracked looking glass of our politics.
And Rubio has happily obliged.
On Nov. 19, GQ Magazine published an interview with Rubio in which he gave a rambling answer to an out-of-the-blue question about the age of the Earth: