Marco Rubio may be the lesser of two evils, but the lesser anyway.
Latino voters, and Latino issues, seem to be the carrot at the end of the stick in this year’s election, both for Republicans and Democrats, as this presidential campaign is already showing.
Take for example the bombastic TIME Magazine cover, proclaiming to the world in Spanish in the issue dated March 5, 2012, that Latinos “will pick the next President.”
Nothing could be further from the truth, in our view, from this right angle.
We don’t even get to pick the running mate. Not even Marco Rubio’s potential inclusion in the Republican ticket will be the result of our choosing.
Somebody will decide for us.
Were our few and invisible national leaders consulted when these decisions were made at the very top of the parties leadership? Does anybody know who those national Latino “leaders” are, by the way? Not even Pew Hispanic could identify them in a poll of Latinos across the country in 2010.
No matter that the Census 2010 count showed that more than 50 million Latinos reside in this country, and that some national Latino organizations such as NALEO are projecting that 12.2 million out of 21.3 million eligible Latinos may vote in this election, the reach and the power of the number gets lost in the political manuevering of the two parties and the absolute absence of national leadership in the U.S. Latino community.
If Marco Rubio gets picked up by Mitt Romney, it will be because the nominee of the GOP won’t have any other choice. Out of pure political necessity, to bring up his dismal approval rating among Latino voters, Romney will likely discard four other worthwhile candidates for his VP spot, among them the governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, whose state is key in the general election in November.
The “featherweight” Marco Rubio, from the battleground state of Florida, may prevail in a match versus the “heavyweight” Chris Christie, from New Jersey, solely on the basis of political pragmatism.
No matter that Rubio is a novice in national politics, a junior foreign policy expert, and that he is unknown to the great majority of U.S. Latinos, he has plugged into the grid of D.C. power since he became a senator.
But by picking political darling Marco Rubio, Romney may indirectly help the yet to be articulated “Latino cause.”
He will force President Obama to step up his game to secure the Latino vote —not a top priority on his political agenda so far.
Save for his trips to Tampa and Cartagena, which ended in embarrassment, the president’s message to Latinos, his new promises to our neglected community —always a community inclined to vote with its heart — are yet to be made clear.
Marco Rubio, who can deliver for the Republican camp at least the electoral votes from Florida, a state that decided a painful defeat of the Democrats 11 years ago, may be “the game changer” Latinos need.