NYT Column: Cruz & Rubio Not Really Latino Because Not Liberal

February 4th, 2016 7:16 PM

Your last name could be Cruz or Rubio but unless you pass the stringent political tests of certain self-appointed gatekeepers, you are not authentically Latino. One such gatekeeper is Roberto Suro who wrote in a New York Times column that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio can't be considered to really be Latino because they do not subscribe to liberal identity politics. Suro details how both Cruz and Rubio have failed his political test of being what he considers to be a true Latino:

Neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Rubio meets conventional expectations of how Latino politicians are supposed to behave.

Neither of these candidates claims to speak for the Hispanic population or derive a crucial portion of their support from Hispanics, and neither bases much of his political identity on being a Latino. To varying degrees they oppose legalization for unauthorized immigrants, a policy that is central to most organized Latino political interests and that is supported by a great majority of Latino elected officials and Latino voters.

GASP! They think for themselves and do not blindly follow the liberal identity politics script. ...Heretics! Suro also conjures up the name of a fellow liberal identity politics gatekeeper...Jorge Ramos:

No less an arbiter than Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor, seemed to condemn them without naming names in a column last month. “There is no greater disloyalty than the children of immigrants forgetting their own roots. That is a betrayal,” he wrote. It is criticism that echoes the rhetoric aimed at Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court and other successful members of minority groups who are perceived as failing to uphold their own group’s interests.

A serious charge by the liberal identity politics folks is that Ted Cruz changed his nickname while a young teenager. Oh, the horror!

...at the age of 13 he jettisoned his Spanish nickname, Felito, in favor of Ted, which derives from his middle name, Edward. The story concluded that Mr. Cruz’s disregard for his own identity, along with his extreme positions on immigration, posed an “insurmountable barrier” between him and a majority of Latino voters.

Another "problem" with the Latino authenticity of Cruz and Rubio is that they come from a suspect group according to the gatekeepers...Cuban immigrants.

They both come from a national origin group, Cubans, with a distinctive political identity shaped by Cold War exiles. Cubans in the United States have reliably voted Republican, though that is shifting, and they make up just around 4 percent of the Hispanic population.

The good news for liberals is that you don't have to be Latino to serve as a gatekeeper for that group. One such gatekeeper is the sandy haired scion of ultra Anglo Nantucket, Chris Matthews, who has weighed in on Latino authenticity:

So you're trying to insinuate that Marco Rubio, a fellow, uh, Spanish surname, I'm not sure the right word is Hispanic for them, because they are Cuban nationals or whatever, or come from Cuba.

Exit pregunta: Can designated lightweight Hillary running mate, Julian Castro, who has been connected to the extreme leftwing identity politics of La Raza ("The Race") but is just now starting to learn how to speak Spanish be considered more authentically Latino than Marco Rubio who speaks the language fluently?