Despite winning the majority of white voters, the Republican Party had their asses handed to them by minority voters last Tuesday. The beat-down has left the GOP in a race to figure out how, at the very least, to get more of the Hispanic vote.
Bill O'Reilly has a novel idea. No, it has nothing to do with changing horribly unpopular policies or anything like that. He just thinks the GOP should trout out Marco Rubio more.
On Wednesday, during his post-election analysis, O'Reilly -- the man who the night before declared that "the white establishment is now the minority" and that America is no longer "traditional" -- acknowledged that "the USA is a rapidly changing country." Those remarks start at about the 4:30 mark below.
Yes, he's talking about the nation's growing Hispanic population. So what's his solution for the GOP? Changing course? Reassessing their stance on immigration? Actively engaging with the Latino community? Nope. Just tokenism.
"In hindsight, Sen. Marco Rubio would have been the best choice to run with Mitt Romney," he declared. "The GOP needs to send a powerful signal to Hispanic voters that the party respects them."
This idea, that Marco Rubio can somehow singlehandily deliver Hispanics to the GOP, is whirling through the party, at least in undertones. Which is patently ridiculous.
First of all, Hispanics are not some monolithic demographic group. We're talking about an incredibly diverse and complex group of people, many of whom feel like they've been grouped together under some all inclusive banner of "Hispanic." Our own Pepe Billete has tackled that issue. A white Cuban politician may, for example, not appeal to Mexicans in any special way more than a non-Hispanic white candidate would.
Second, Rubio's stance on immigration still upsets many Hispanics. He's a bit more moderate on the issue than other Republicans, but he's still far to the right of the Democratic Party on the issue.
Third, let's remember that Rubio may have won 55 percent of Florida's Hispanic vote when he ran for Senate in 2010, but that also means 45 percent voted for someone else. Sure, that's better than the 27 percent that voted for Romney this year, but it's not much better than the 50 percent Rick Scott won that same year. We still don't know how to explain, other than that Hispanic voter turnout was relatively low during that non-Presidential election and it was a Republican-wave year. It's likely that if the political headwinds were different, Rubio might not have even won Hispanics in Florida.
In fact, several polls have found that Jeb Bush is more popular among Hispanics than Rubio.
Here are some things we've written about that subject in the past. From an article on a national PPP poll on voters' favorite Republicans to run for prez in 2016:
In the most surprising result, 29 percent of Hispanic Republicans prefer Jeb Bush, while only 16 percent prefer Rubio. Identity politics apparently only go so far, and perhaps because Bush's more moderate stance on immigration helps his appeal in the demographic. In fact, Bush leads the pack among all minority voters. Rubio leads among whites.
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And from an article on a poll on the impact of hypothetical Romney VP choices on Florida voters:
Only 46 percent of Latinos would vote vote for Romney-Rubio over Obama-Biden.
A whopping 57 percent of Latinos would vote for the GOP in the same matchup with Jeb Bush as the veep candidate.
Sorry, Bill O'Reilly. Marco Rubio is not the GOP's golden ticket to winning all of Latinos. He might help with recapturing the Cuban vote, though.