Tuesday, April 16, 2024

1st Latino, Cruz, Wins; Latinos Seek Less Extreme Choice In Rubio

3 ted cruz iowa

Ted Cruz’s Iowa Caucus win, the first by a Hispanic, is a symbolic and historic milestone for the Latino community. As the race for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination moves on to New Hampshire the contest is increasingly solidifying as a match up between three candidates- Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Cruz’s win, though, comes without the support of the Latino community who see him and Trump as virtually the same candidate and instead view Rubio, though still staunchly conservative, as a more realistic choice on the GOP side.

“The tone and the language they use, they would not be good candidates to represent America in a foreign policy situation” said Enrique Peña, a Republican who immigrated from Colombia in the 1980s and lives in Iowa, describing Trump and Cruz.

Cruz and Rubio, both Cuban-Americans whose parents fled Cuba years ago, have struggled to gain traction in the Latino community and have sparred over the issue of immigration reform on the campaign trail.

“If you want a president to stop amnesty, to secure the borders and to keep us safe, then support a candidate who has led the fight to stop amnesty, to secure the borders and to keep us safe,” Cruz has said.

By contrast, “I think Rubio is pragmatic enough and sensible enough to say we got to be able to come up with a solution, he’s demonstrated his willingness to craft solutions. Even though he’s gone back and forth on immigration, people can say he tried,” said Danny Vargas, a political commentator for NBC News and MSNBC.

Despite the rhetoric around immigrants in the GOP race, “I thought it was interesting that 51 percent of Iowa caucus voters voted for a Latino,” added Vargas.

Not everyone sees Rubio as a viable alternative to combat the extreme positions of Cruz and Trump, however. Dolores Huerta, an organizer with People for the American Way said that Rubio has taken a page from the Trump/Cruz playbook, noting that “In recent weeks, Rubio has taken a hard-right turn, painting all immigrants as possible terrorists.”


NBC News