This week’s Herald column: Marco Rubio and the ‘magical minority’ theory


This week’s Herald column tackles the GOP’s, and my fellow members of the political media’s obsession with Marco Rubio as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

A clip:

Rubio won his Senate seat with 55 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, notably, losing the share of that vote located in Central Florida, where more Hispanics are of Puerto Rican descent. He’s young and telegenic, and by the way, would bolster the self-belief of white conservatives that they, too, belong to a diverse party.

But the media fixation with Rubio, and the GOP’s attempts to drape him over their shoulders, speaks to a fundamental flaw in the Magical Minority theory.

For one thing, Rubio is Cuban American and, as such, he represents around 5 percent of America’s Latino population, fully two thirds of which is Mexican American. The experiences of those two communities could not be more different. Republicans (and the media) may not see the geographic, ethnic and cultural distinctions, but Latinos do. And in the case of illegal immigration, there is no “wet foot, dry foot” policy for Mexican, Honduran or other economic migrants, leading to a sense among many, fair or not, that Cuban Americans are afforded an unfair advantage.

Likewise, Cuban Americans are a predominantly conservative constituency, while the majority of Hispanics tend to be more liberal. They favor social programs, public education and healthcare reform, by wide margins.

More fundamentally, the notion that simply dangling a person with an Hispanic surname will negate the feeling among many Hispanics, based on the coarseness of the illegal-immigration debate, that one political party doesn’t much like them, is simplistic at best, insulting at worst. It would be like saying that adding Rep. Allen West to Romney’s ticket would win over African Americans. That theory was tested in 2010, when adding Jennifer Carroll, who is black, to Rick Scott’s ticket yielded the governor exactly 3 percent of the African-American vote — the same percentage of black Floridians who were already members of the GOP.

Read the whole thing here.

Oh and by the way, Rubio still says he doesn’t want it. I know no one in the political world believes that, except of course for me, because I can very distinctly recall all of the Rubio scandals that would re-air in the public vet.

Just sayin…

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One Response to This week’s Herald column: Marco Rubio and the ‘magical minority’ theory

  1. Yusuf says:

    I think most likely he won’t take it because his skeletons that he has in the closet wasn’t exposed that much because of the fortunate 3 way race he had with Crist and Meek. If he foolishly decides to take the VP and Romney loses (which he will) it will seriously hurt him. He also didn’t win the non-Cuban Hispanic vote in ’10, If you put Crist and Meek’s votes together he would had lost. Those votes put together, he got crushed in Dade County badly, he lost Hillsborough, Orange, and Osceola counties. And giving the inevitable trends in those counties with the explosion in Puerto Rican growth in those coming up from NY/NJ and settling in Central Fla, and especially the non-Cuban Hispanic growth in Dade county, he can very well be vulnerable in ’16 which is a presidential year so it’ll be higher turn out. I’m sickin tired of ppl talking about him as if he walk on water, CAUSE HE DOESN’T! Plus that new PPP poll show that even with him on the GOP, Obama still wins Latinos in 52-37 in FL. I think the only candidates that could be formidable opponents in ’16 are Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Kathy Castor. I think Castor is tad better, 1. She’s from Tampa, 2. She speaks with a distinguishable Southern accent like Bill Nelson, which helps her in ancestral Democratic area in the Big Bend part of North Florida and perhaps Jacksonville, unlike DWS who’s a SoFla girl thru n thru. 3. She’s a vigorous champion when it comes to seniors and the safety net. I can’t wait until Puerto Ricans and non-Cuban Latinos become a full force to be reckoned with, which they’re on the cusp of doing, and start to challenge the Cuban Republicans, which Cuban GOP’ers see as a threat to them. Even the younger Cubans voting Democratic with that being side what do you think, and do you agree ?

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