Marco Rubio seems to be gunning for the young people in 2016 with this student loan debt bill, right?

We all know Marco Rubio is a potential 2016 Presidential contender on the Republican side, with the whole “water gaffe” thing put aside. The GOP field is odd / interesting / weak — which maybe describes the entire party right now — and Rubio could emerge from it as the front-runner, to potentially be smote by Hilary Clinton or run kinda-tight with Elizabeth Warren / Joe Biden (or none of the above). Regardless, he made a play for that brass ring recently by leaping into the student-loan discussion:

Payments would be based on a percentage of an individual’s annual income in excess of $10,000. Borrowers could prepay any time without penalty.

Loans of less than $57,500 would be forgiven after 20 years, while loans in excess of that amount would be forgiven after 30 years.

The measure would apply to all new loans, and existing borrowers would be eligible to convert their loans into the new system.

“Our current loan repayment system often turns what should be reasonable debts into crippling payments,” Rubio and Warner said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “Some graduates find they are forced to work multiple jobs, often in fields they didn’t train for, simply to avoid defaulting on student loans.”

And from the same article:

Still, the issue may give Rubio, 43, a toehold with college-age voters and recent graduates, a segment of the electorate that overwhelmingly backed Obama in 2008 and 2012. Escalating student-loan debt, now at $1.2 trillion, is of growing importance to younger voters and a subject that’s also gotten attention from Democrat Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor whom some Republicans have encouraged to consider a presidential run.

Yep. You win with youth — we saw that in 2008 and 2012, right? And Republicans typically don’t get that youth turnout, but by targeting a key issue for them — everyone hates debt, especially when the job market also sucks — Rubio could position himself nicely. Plus, at 45 when he ran, he’d be about 20 years younger than Clinton, who’d be a grandmother to boot! The age dynamic could be shifting … but the Electoral College still isn’t very favorable to Republicans in its current iteration.

Slate also points this out:

Here’s the good news: A bipartisan bill has been introduced into the Senate that might just solve the single most pressing problem with student debt.

Now the bad news: One of the sponsors is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. And as Jonathan Chait once so succinctly put it, “Everything Rubio touches has turned to shit.”

Should be noted that for some people, this is only the second-most relevant thing Rubio did this week. Earlier in the week, he lobbed a grenade at LeBron James, speaking for Miami (I don’t think most Miami residents want him doing that, actually) by saying that MIA “has moved on.”

Rubio previously dipped into poverty as an issue, and part of his current strategy involves releasing a number of “white papers” on different topics over the next year, all towards shaping the future of America. Interesting: this is the first Presidential run-up where the idea of content marketing has caught on for the GOP side. Will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Ted Bauer