Thursday, October 24, 2019

Comentarios from Maria: For Latino voters, a candidate’s last name is irrelevant, what matters is their substance

maria

One of the few certainties that has emerged during this election cycle is that any Republican candidate who hopes to reach the White House has to win at least 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. With approximately 25 million eligible voters, the sheer magnitude and influence of Latino voters is a demographic reality that nobody can deny. Yet winning the support of the Latino community in an authentic and significant way is something that has eluded the GOP during the previous two presidential elections. There are few signs that this will change unless a candidate arises who can convince Hispanic voters that Republican antagonism toward Latinos is a thing of the past.

Many in the Republican camp think that they have finally found three candidates – or rather, three saviors – who can reverse their party’s negative trajectory. Two candidates who have announced their candidacy, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are of Cuban descent, and Jeb Bush, who is very close to announcing, never misses an opportunity to emphasize his connection to Latino community by being married to a Mexican and his familiarity with the language and culture. Erroneously, Republicans believe that the attributes of the previously mentioned candidates are enough to persuade the Latino community. Simply put, the fact that Cruz and Rubio are of Hispanic descent and that Bush speaks Spanish is not to say that their ideologies and agendas are consistent with the interests of our community.

Until now, the platforms of these candidates are based on destruction rather than concrete solutions. There is no better example than the group’s obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

Conveniently, they ignore the fact that the rate of Latinos without health insurance has dropped by 12.3 percent, thanks to the law. This tremendous step forward for the Latino community is irrelevant for these candidates who always put politics above the needs of the community.

From the onset, candidates like Ted Cruz, who represents the most anti-immigrant faction of the GOP, have favored disastrous immigration policies that now form a fundamental part of his campaign. If Cruz got his way, he would pursue a futile strategy that would focus exclusively on border security and would deport the almost 12 million undocumented immigrants who live in our country. Marco Rubio is not the exception since he abandoned his own legislation over reform, and turned his back on the community in the face of pressure from the anti-immigrant base dominating his party. Apparently, Jeb Bush is headed down a similar path, although he has insisted that he favors “legal status” or “earned status” for the undocumented community. As Hillary Clinton Observed last week, those terms are only a cowardly way of saying to the immigrants that they are only worthy of a second-class status.

The Republican Party has spent the larger part of a decade trampling on the Latino community, and these candidates are not going to change this fact because, frankly, they are part of the problem. Our community is not blind and we know that these candidates have been complicit and fierce defenders of the policies that have had a negative impact on our community and, unfortunately, continue advocating for policies that would hinder our community instead of advancing it.

This article originally appeared in Spanish in The Washington Hispanic.