By Patrick Osio, OP-ED
Senator Ted Cruz has become the darling of the Tea Party and other extreme right Republicans. He is seen as their potential presidential candidate. He is a superb orator and the big plus – he’s Hispanic. One needs to put a pan below the chin of the right wing members to catch the drool.
They now know that in order to win the White House their candidate must take between 35 to 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. So having a candidate that not only thinks like they, is a great orator, with leadership qualities, and also Hispanic they feel is a winning combination.
If right wingers don’t know it, surely Ted Cruz does. Hispanic is a generic description for the various descendants of numerous Spanish speaking countries in the Western Hemisphere. Cruz happens to belong to one such group – Cuban-American.
According to Pew Research Center Cubans in the U.S. number 1.9 million; Central-Americans 4.3 million and the Gorilla, Mexican-Americans 33.5 million.
So the question is: Can Cuban-American Cruz appeal to the other groups; in particular to Mexican-Americans and Central-Americans? Without a significant number of their votes, Cruz would not be the next White House occupant.
How is Cruz going to explain to them why he brought the nation to the brink of economic disaster shutting down the government in a zealots attempt to rescind Obamacare needed by over 11 million Hispanics without health insurance? And while at it, how will he explain to the thousands of small business that were placed on hold by major clients due to the uncertainty he created?
How will he reconcile his belief that there is need for immigration reform, but not until the border is secure? What is his idea of secure? Not one person entering? Does this include drug traffickers? How are they attached to immigration reform? And why is only the Mexican border singled out?
How will he explain his opposition to the Dream Act that allows youngsters brought in childhood illegally to the U.S. to seek higher educations?
How will he be able to say that his family’s immigration experience is akin to theirs? Cruz’s own father was granted immediate entry not once, but twice. Cubans received favored treatment on arrival to the U.S. being granted immediate sanctuary, placed on a fast track for permanent residency and a path to citizenship. And how will he explain that on a boat full of Cuban, Dominican and Haitian refugees only Cubans were given sanctuary on arrival to the U.S., the others returned to their country and waiting arms of the dictatorships in those days?
How will he explain his silence when elected and non elected members of his own party speak so disdainfully of his fellow Hispanics? How will he explain his silence when several states pass draconian laws singling out Mexicans for enforcement?
Maybe Senator Cruz is not aware that there is tremendous discontent in the Mexican-American community towards the Republican Party, which does nothing to rectify the relationship. A considerable number of votes cast during the last presidential election were against the Republicans with Obama the beneficiary.
All ethnic groups within the Hispanic community want better education for their children and themselves, more economic opportunities, more available jobs, health care coverage – note Senator these are mostly the same issues as all Americans.
Most Americans, including the majority of Hispanics, are not in favor of illegal immigration or open borders as many of your colleagues claim. As you and your colleagues claim favoring legal immigration, so do Hispanics. They want an orderly process that U.S. businesses can comply with and be of benefit to our economy. But you’re stuck with simple sound bytes to please your patrons instead of working on immigration reform.
Be aware Senator that you have a tough road with the greatest number of “Hispanics” that speaking Spanish will not overcome. Don’t worry about Senator Rubio, he’ll have to face the same scrutiny as you if he beats you out of the nomination.
Patrick Osio, is the Editor of HispanicVista. He can be contacted at POsioJr@aol.com