Long before revelations about Donald Trump's views on sexual assault and tales of his presence and behavior at events where illegal drugs and young women were passed around and used, Marco Rubio lost supporters because of his embrace of Trump for plenty of other reasons. One of course being the fact that Donald Trump is Donald Trump. Another was that Rubio became a willing participant on the Trump Train even after Trump humiliated him during the primaries, and yes, defended Trump when it was revealed he violated the Cuba embargo.
Yes, the reasons are many, but perhaps one of the biggest reasons is the fact that Rubio is willing to support the man who kicked off his campaign by saying that Mexicans were drug dealers and rapists, and that one came back to bite Rubio big time over this past weekend.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio got booed off a stage in Orlando on Sunday, by a crowd that was overwhelmingly Latino.
It happened at Calle Orange, a street festival in downtown Orlando geared toward the city's large Puerto Rican community. The icy reception was an indication of the challenges that Rubio, a Republican of Cuban heritage, has faced in locking down support from Latinos in Florida as the state's Latino electorate has begun to shift to the left.
But when he took the stage, there was spattering of boos from the crowd.
And when the emcee introduced the senator, they grew louder.
"I'm going to introduce a man who represents Latinos, no matter where you're from," the emcee boomed in Spanish. The boos grew louder still. "Ladies and gentlemen, the senator for the state of Florida, a Latino like you and me ... his name is Marco Rubio! Applaud!"
Instead, the boos rained down on the senator, drowning out what appeared to be a handful of supporters in the crowd.
"Thank you for having me today," Rubio said, also in Spanish. "I want you to enjoy this day. We're not going to talk about politics today. Thank God for this beautiful day, and for our freedom, our democracy, our vote, and our country. God bless you all, thank you very much."
Then he left the stage, to more boos.
Imagine not wanting to talk about politics when your attempt to do just that is drowned out with angry boos? After all, does anyone really believe Rubio woke up Sunday morning and decide to head to the festival in Orlando for anything other than political reasons?
Rubio may have thought this was a good idea, but it backfired on him, adding one more reason to his growing list of bad judgment calls. After all, these same voters have been bleeding away from the Republican Party in Florida for a while now, and this election's early voting among Latinos in Florida is even larger than it was in 2012. Apparently Rubio's magical thinking got the better of him again on this subject, just as it did when he said earlier this week that Trump was doing better in Florida than people realized. Yeah, not so much Rubio. Looks like you're 0 for 2.
Meanwhile, back at Calle Orange, voters there spoke to how and why Rubio's opportunism both here, and with his support of Trump, lost them:
"Latinos might have differences amongst each other, but we're also united as one," said Angel Marin, a retired Army sergeant of Puerto Rican descent who said he's voted for both Democrats and Republicans. He said he resented Rubio for his endorsement of Trump.
"And when we have someone like Trump, who hits our Mexican brothers, our Latino brothers, then you jump on that bandwagon after all that stuff he says not only about you personally ... as a Latino, you're a freaking sellout. I would not vote for him if they paid me."
"He's from the party of Trump," Gretchen Valentin, who lives in Orlando, said in Spanish. She characterized her feelings toward Rubio as more distaste than dislike. Valentin moved to Florida from Puerto Rico 15 years ago, but said this election would be her first time voting. "I've never belonged to any political party, but this year, I'm inclined toward the Democrats. The little I've seen of Trump and the Republicans and how hard they've made it for immigrants has left me unconvinced with them."
It seems that Rubio's disguise of politician masking as a really bad used car salesman isn't working for him anymore anywhere. Backing Trump may just be the final straw.
Rubio is currently tied with Democrat Patrick Murphy.
As President Obama is fond of saying: "Don't boo. Vote."