Rubio's moment of truth

Republicans offer two analogies to the cicadas. Insider Republicans are "sex starved" for a political victory at a time when the national GOP is in big trouble. Karl Rove falls into this category. Fanatic conservatives are now in a frenzy similar to the cicadas, afraid the national GOP broadens its base by reaching out to the center.

The ubiquitous voice of the fanatical right, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), falls into this category. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) seeks to navigate this divide. 

Both breeds of GOP cicadas are in full-throated scream trying to bring down Hillary Clinton over Benghazi, which will ultimately result in another decade or two of GOP hibernation until President Hillary Clinton concludes her second term, after President Obama concludes his two terms.

Immigration reform is quite another matter: The stakes are enormous. If conservative fanatics sabotage immigration reform, the triumph of the right will be devastating for Republicans for many elections to come as Hispanics will turn away from the GOP for a generation.

If this happens, the right will rejoice and Democrats will shed crocodile tears. Rubio's problem is the contradiction between what it takes to win a Republican nomination for president, with a strong rightist GOP base, and what it takes to win a general election, which requires reaching out to the center and winning at least an increased number of Hispanic votes. Immigration will offer the truest test of the future of the GOP and the level of presidential stature for Rubio.

I have a hunch that before this is done, the rightest Republican cicadas will outshout and intimidate the more reasonable victory-starved GOP cicadas. I could be wrong, and hope I am. 

I will make one prediction. If Rubio succeeds in moving his party toward moderation on immigration, the right will rage against Rubio at first, until polls show that he may be the only Republican who can run a strong race against Hillary Clinton if she runs for president. In the meantime, official Washington should brace for the voice of the cicadas, on the street and among Republicans in Congress.

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