I’m sure many Latinos scoffed during Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Rubio said, “Mr. President, I still live in the same working-class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren’t millionaires.” What he failed to mention was he’s selling his home at a “listing price of $675,000, the two-story, and 2,700-square-foot home,” The Miami Herald stated. Some may not consider that to be the “working class.”
The Republican Party dug itself into a hole so deep that in order to win the 2016 Presidential Election, they are going to have to build trust within the Latino community. Unlike Rubio, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, a Democrat, has grown up in the lower class amongst immigrants from Mexico. If Republicans wanted a Latino who can relate to the Latino demographic, then Rubio is not the best choice.
Many right wing commentators and representatives have presented Latinos in a bad light for years. Iowa Representative Steve King once compared visa beneficiaries to a good “bird-dog.” He later insisted it was a compliment in an interview on Des Moines NBC affiliate WHOTV.
In “America Nears El Tipping Pointo,” right-wing columnist Ann Coulter portrayed Latinos as lazy, underclass dependents on the government. When asked what he will do for the Latin community, Republican Mayor of East Haven Joseph Maturo said, “I might have tacos when I go home, I’m not sure yet.” Those are only a few of the many reasons why Latinos don’t have a strong relationship with the Republican Party.
of Latinos voted for Obama in
the 2012 election.
Not having the Latino demographic hurt Mitt Romney’s campaign. His “self-deportation” approach to immigration didn’t appeal to Latinos. Try as they might, Republicans continue to struggle as they attempt to sway the Latino community. If all Republicans aren’t on board in supporting a pathway to citizenship they will not win Latinos over. Republicans Steve King, Lamar Smith and John Boehner denounced a pathway to legalization. They feel it’s just amnesty for illegal immigrants and the GOP should not focus on immigration to get Latino voters.
Both chambers of congress have come to the consensus that a pathway to citizenship is the key to rebuilding the broken U.S. immigration system.
Obama received 71 percent of the Latino vote compared to Romney who received 27 percent. If the GOP elects Rubio as the 2016 Latino presidential candidate, they could possibly win over Latinos. The party can try and appeal to the Latin demographic all they want, but their racism and portrayal of Latinos will continue to stand in their way.