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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rubio, Republican Dream VP, Won’t Fix Party Woes

Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) — With Newt Gingrich’s surge, the Republican presidential race is more uncertain than ever. But the party’s pick for vice president has for months seemed like a foregone conclusion.

Although he claims to have no interest in the job, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is still the most likely VP choice for any Republican nominee, especially Gingrich, who has mentioned Rubio specifically.

Rubio is young, bright, handsome and from a critical swing state that he carried in 2010 by nearly 20 points. Most important, he’s Hispanic. He doesn’t have to help Republicans win Hispanics outright, but merely cut into the Democrats’ mammoth advantage. The Obama campaign knows that if the president, who won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008, can be held below 60 percent this time, he’s almost sure to lose.

But in truth, Rubio is not the ideal vice-presidential candidate to solve Republicans’ trouble with Hispanics. Cuban- Americans have a big voice in Florida politics (where they already vote Republican) but make up only 4 percent of Hispanics nationwide. Mexican-Americans make up 66 percent of Hispanics, and tapping their potential at the polls may determine the results in swing states such as Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

There’s no evidence that a Cuban-American who opposes even the DREAM Act (which would create a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants who finish high school and join the military or attend college) will bring other Hispanics out to vote or get them to switch parties.

A better option for Republicans might be New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, but party operatives tell me that after Sarah Palin they aren’t likely to bet again on a new and obscure female governor.

So Rubio sits atop the short list. This should have Republicans worried, and not just because Rubio arrived in the Senate less than a year ago and carries the risks of any rookie. He’s been scuffed up in two flaps this year that highlight the complexities of being a minority of an ethnic minority in a party that’s shooting itself in the foot with minorities.

  • eddyabreu1980

    Rubio is no match for VP Hillary Clinton

  • Dennis W

    These are fine points that will register with some Cuban Americans, yet may not discourage them from voting Republican. They have been rabid Republicans since 1959/60 when they were welcomed in by Eisenhower. Staunch support for the embargo and not recognizing Cuba keeps them in the GOP camp even though the source of both is the Kennedy Administration.

    It has been 50 years since Castro took over Cuba. Some, not all, Cuban refugees lost their lands and wealth when he took over. It is understandable they oppose Castro.

    Yet is this the only issue important to Cuban Americans? The Dream Act maybe, but what of other core Democratic issues might they agree? It is time to stop writting this vote off and to start making an effort at connecting with this part of the population who should resonate with Democratic values.

  • ed Clemensen

    I’ma griengo, but I know that the majority of Latinos, that vote, don’t like the Latin equvolent of an Uncle Tom. Rubio is the dead weight this election that Sarah Palin was in the last. couple with the Grinchrich, well there would have to be a lot of Hanging chads.