As Marco Rubio tries to rally the anti-Donald Trump wing of the Republican Party, he's claiming that he can replicate the success of the party's most cherished icon: Ronald Reagan.
Rubio Compares 2016 to 1980
Rubio's latest ad "Revolution" uses clips of his confident South Carolina concession speech – with Gov. Nikki Haley behind him – mixed with historical footage of the 1980 Iranian hostage crisis and gas shortages.
Comparing the current election to 1980, Rubio says, "Thirty-six years ago, this nation faced a period of doubt. After a failed presidency, it felt like America was in decline. Our economy was stagnant. And the American Dream felt like it was slipping away."
Can Rubio Beat Trump By Going Positive?
The screen then displays Reagan's inauguration, as Rubio tries to employ nostalgia while casting himself as the candidate of the next generation: "And then we elected a president that inspired us, who asked us to remember who we were and who believed as we do that America’s greatest days always lie ahead. Well now the children of the Reagan Revolution are ready to assume the mantle of leadership."
The ad is uniformly positive, though with the implicit subtext that a Donald Trump could not inspire the public in similar fashion. Rubio has long shied away from launching a direct attack on Trump, fearing blowback from him and his supporters.
The question is if a candidate running from behind can mount a comeback on positive ads alone.