After going from “self-deportation” to “mass-deportation” in a scant two years, most Republicans still concerned about their party’s national relevancy would probably be thrilled at the thought of running a Latino candidate in 2016.
What better way to start making amends with Latinos than to run a candidate they can relate to? Someone who might sound and look like them, someone who might even know the challenges that Latinos, immigrants, and their families face on a daily basis.
Well, unless that candidate’s name happens to be Ted Cruz.
Cruz made his 2016 announcement late Sunday evening -- and Republican reactions were all over the map. The RNC account, @GOP, tweeted a polite congratulations. But their Spanish counterpart, @RNCLatinos, zipped their lips, instead preferring to continue talking Hillary Clinton’s emails, RNC Chair Reince Priebus’s birthday, and other issues apparently of dire importance to Latinos.
Some might argue, Well, Ted Cruz is Latino, an immigrant’s son. Shouldn’t that help the GOP? Shouldn’t that impress Latinos just a bit? Under other circumstances, maybe. But we’re talking Ted Cruz here. And when it comes to relationships with Latinos and immigrants, few others in the Senate have managed to be as contentious, as combative, and as toxic as him.
After all, this is the same Ted Cruz who, when Mitt Romney’s landslide defeat among Latinos spurred some Senate Republicans to finally do something -- anything! -- on immigration reform, proposed a nasty amendment preventing all undocumented immigrants from ever being able to attain citizenship.
This is the same Ted Cruz who not only proposed ending DACA for hundreds of thousands of young DREAMers, but also managed to blame them for the child refugee crisis -- kids escaping rape and death from countries like Honduras, the murder capital of the world -- last summer.
And this is the same Ted Cruz who called ending President Obama’s immigration action protecting millions of immigrant moms and dads from deportation his “top priority.” What a Republican champion for immigrants and Latinos, right?
So it should come as no surprise that Latino Decisions, the foremost polling firm on issues facing U.S. Latinos, has Cruz losing the Latino vote so badly (73% to 24), he makes Mitt Romney look as popular as Ricky Martin.
Even if Cruz doesn’t manage to become his party’s nominee (¡JAJAJAJ!) and instead gets picked to be a VP running mate, 49% of Latinos say they would be less likely to vote for the GOP ticket as a result.
Cruz doesn’t put a band-aid on the GOP’s Latino Problem -- he makes it hemorrhage. And if Republicans truly are sincere about repairing their burned bridges with Latinos, they’ll stay as far away from him as possible.