Daily Archives: February 5, 2016

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Rubio and Cruz: Two Hispanic Outliers

Rubio on the boder
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on the Mexican border. Rubio appears to draw the most Hispanic vitriol. /photo courtesy office of Sen. Rubio

Two Latinos won big in the Iowa caucus, a first in U.S. history. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz together grabbed a little over 50 percent of the GOP vote.

Pretty impressive for two guys with Cuban-born parents. Each likely will do well in the New Hampshire primary and one may even become the Republican presidential nominee, making for another very big first.

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s amazing that two sons of Hispanic immigrants could rise so quickly in America. In one generation.

“How is that not being celebrated as historic or at least worth a headline for a day or two?” wrote University of Southern California professor Robert Suro in the New York Times.

Ted Cruz
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is more of an outlier than Rubio. /photo courtesy office Sen. Cruz

Indeed. Contrary to MSNBC’s Chris Mathews’, folks really do want to hear two Cubans debate. It’s a great story that bears closer scrutiny because Rubio and Cruz are what statisticians call “outliers” – different from other Latinos in big and small ways. Note: Anyone who runs for president is an outlier, regardless of color, gender or ethnicity. That’s not at issue.

What matters is that Rubio and especially Cruz appear to be outside the mainstream Latino experience, criticizing immigrants, mostly Hispanics with the same aspirations as their mamá and papá many years ago. No Hispandering here.

In fact, Rubio and Cruz are counter Hispandering – running mostly as non Latinos, addressing the “angry voices” in the party upset about illegal immigration, although immigration has plummeted significantly, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. But each exploits his immigrant roots when convenient.

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