Marco Rubio against the GOP opponents and religious conflict that's not about Starbucks

Today in Slate: Rubio Against Everyone, and the Real Religious-Secular Divide

Today in Slate: Rubio Against Everyone, and the Real Religious-Secular Divide

What’s happening.
Nov. 10 2015 5:56 PM

How to Fight Foes

The right’s new war on Rubio, and its wrong “war on Christmas.”

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio speaks at the Heritage Foundation on April 15, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Old Slate–fuls,


Tuesday night brings a political, embittered contest among big egos and moderators mostly concerned with just putting on a good program: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Also, the fourth GOP presidential primary debate.

Before the last debate, Rubio was in competition mostly with his rivals in his “establishment” lane: Jeb Bush most of all, but also Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich. Since Rubio emerged as the frontrunner among that group, this debate, he’ll have to parry direct attacks from the “outsider” lane, too, headed by Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz. Soon, he’ll also face attack ads from Jeb and Cruz’s Super PACs and from unsavvy Democratic Party officials. That’s the cost of being a frontrunner, and how Marco handles the scrutiny will be the story of this debate. But there’s a lot more to watch for: Will Ben Carson mutter more weird things when asked about his past mutterings? Will Donald Trump slap anyone? It will be an edifying evening.

Also, expect to hear about how Starbucks is killing Christmas.


In case you didn’t hear the Donald’s call to boycott, some people are angry that Starbucks nixed the Christmas symbols from its holiday cups and just made them red this year. It’s a silly noncontroversy, but there’s a real debate worth having about religious and secular values. Unlike Starbucks cups, conflicts between the two affect real people, whether it’s during the Kim Davis brouhaha, the debate over California’s crisis pregnancy centers, or religious opponents of Obamacare. A large number of Americans genuinely believe religious faith should guide public policy, while another large group genuinely believes religion should never touch the law. This split will continue to affect legislation and livelihoods in real ways, and it’s worth arguing about—just not when the argument centers on coffee cups.

How those without religion should raise their kids, how the PC wars should be fought, and how to remember Allen Toussaint.

  • The great New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint died on Monday. I had the pleasure of meeting Toussaint on two occasions. Both times, he was a gentleman and a wonderful performer. Check out his music; it’s worth remembering.

Like the stories told of old,
Seth Maxon
Home page editor for nights and weekends