Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a former Republican presidential candidate, called this week for the party to rebrand to include multiple races and focus on working-class voters.
“I think the future of the Republican Party is as a multiethnic, multiracial, working-class party,” Rubio said during a recent virtual appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
“And what I mean by working-class party is normal, everyday people who don’t want to live in a city where there is no police department, where people rampage through the streets every time they are upset about something, where their kids are afraid that they’re going to fail a college course unless they agree with their crazy professor, where they are afraid to speak out on what they believe on some issue because they might get fired from their job or they are going to be called a racist because they wear a MAGA hat or have a sticker on their car.”
MAGA stands for “Make America Great Again,” President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.
This year, Trump gained more votes from blacks, Hispanics, and Asians than he received in 2016, according to exit polls. Voters in those categories cited the president’s strong positions on immigration and criminal justice reforms, among other issues.
In an interview with Axios, Rubio noted how Republicans have traditionally been tied to big business.
“But the free market exists to serve our people. Our people don’t exist to serve the free market,” he said, adding that working-class Americans oppose big businesses “that only care about how their shares are performing, even if it’s based on moving production overseas for cheaper labor.
“They’re very suspicious, quite frankly, dismissive of elites at every level. And, obviously, that’s a powerful sentiment,” he added.
Andrew Yang, a former presidential candidate, said last week that working-class Americans flinched when they learned he was a Democrat on the campaign trail.
“There is something deeply wrong when working-class Americans have that response to a major party that theoretically is supposed to be fighting for them,” he said.
“In their minds, the Democratic Party unfortunately has taken on this role of the coastal urban elites who are more concerned about policing various cultural issues than improving their way of life that has been declining for years.
“This to me is a fundamental problem for the party.”