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The big winner from immigration reform

rubiosenate.JPG

If there is an immigration reform battle this year and the Republican base does do terrible damage to the party's relationship with the fast-growing Hispanic electorate, how much likelier is it that Marco Rubio -- assuming he wins his Senate race -- receives the Republican nomination for president in 2016? A lot, right?

Photo credit: By John Raoux/Associated Press

By Ezra Klein  |  April 26, 2010; 1:28 PM ET
 
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Comments

Highly doubtful.

By 2016, it will be time to elect the next Bush as Republican president, Gov Jeb of Florida. And since there's not really a lot of free-thinking on the right once the fundraising starts and Jeb moves out to a massive advantage in cash this will be the signal to the base that He's The One, and they'll quickly fall in line, just ask John McCain circa 2000.

Perhaps Rubio will be his VP, if so, that would be good for the Republicans and good for the country.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | April 26, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It's possible, if only because the GOP doesn't know or care about the difference between a Cuban-American and a Mexican-American.

Posted by: cranaghan | April 26, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Let's wait to see if the guy even wins the FL Senate race. You wouldn't know it from the coverage in the national press but it is far from a done deal.

Posted by: nhuixnhuix | April 26, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Not likely. Problem is, Republicans really do abominate Latinos. So smart politics runs smack into racism.

Posted by: janinsanfran | April 26, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

And how about this? If the Democrats elect the first black President, just appoint a black man to be the RNC Chair! What could go wrong?

Posted by: vvf2 | April 26, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

If the Republicans are looking for Rubio to wedge the Hispanic vote, I'm not sure 2016 makes any more or less sense than 2012.

If you're saying 2016 on the conventional wisdom that it's too late for Rubio to get into the 2012 race or that he's not "ripe" for 2012, we saw in the last cycle that the front-runner (Clinton) may just be a place holder for a more-compelling, come-from-behind, 2-years-experience U.S. Senator (Obama).

I don't see it working out that way, but it is certainly possible.

Posted by: MisterSavannah | April 26, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Not likely. Problem is, Republicans really do abominate Latinos. "

Republicans love politically conservative Latinos that vote for Republicans. Whatever generalized racism there might be in either political party, it is subordinate to the politics of elections, and getting votes, and winning races.

Democrats love folks who vote for Democrats. Republicans love folks who vote for Republicans.

One think the party establishment might look askance at is running another senator, after the last one lost, and running a candidate who just got to the senate (assuming he does). 2016 may be long enough, but maybe not.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 26, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

What?! The most immediate question is can Marco Rubio get the requisite number of Latino votes in FL to win in the general election or will he be branded as a sell out among Latinos?

Posted by: NMP1 | April 26, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

zeppelin,

I'd agree with Rubio as a VP candidate (that assumes also that he ends up as Senator Rubio).

Where I'd disagree is with the Presidential candidate. I still think it'll be Romney when all is said and done. There's no sense in having two Floridians as POTUS and VP. Then again sense isn't one of the Republicans strong suits lately.

Either way they lose in 2012 I believe. I don't see Obama losing.

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 26, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

And I'm not sure if you are insulting Latinos or suggesting that Republicans would insult Latinos.

Posted by: NMP1 | April 26, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I'd say it increases his chances 100%:

From 0.5% to 1.0%.

Posted by: JohnCoctostin | April 26, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

He should be pressed to see where he stands on the law. Will he defend, repudiate or try to find a way to blame Obama for it similar to the statement released by the Hispanic Republicans of Arizona http://www.fox11az.com/home/related/Statement-from--91948419.html. Don't know if anyone has gotten a comment from him yet and if he'd be politically adept enough to thread the needle between his conservative base and the outraged hispanic community.

Posted by: dnf42580 | April 26, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

You've obviously never been in a large room full of Latinos where Republican Latinos are asking the non-Republican Latinos to support a nomination "because he is Latino" (ex. Alberto Gonzalez for AG). And in this example, it was a large group of lawyers pushing for more Latino representation in influential law positions.

Latinos do not support someone "just because they are Latino". I don't know if there are scientific studies that support or disprove that statement, but I'm pretty sure that this is the case. Ideology counts for much, much more.

Also, keep in mind, Latinos are much more varied than other ethnic groups. And the interests of each group tend to be different. Mexican <> Puerto Ricans <> Hondurans <> Argentinians <> etc.

If Rubio's nominated, it will be a big deal, but it will matter to one specific sub-segment of the Latino population MUCH more than others (in this case, Cubans).

It's a bit like trying to herd cats in one direction.

Now, throw something that impacts all of them (*cough* immigration reform *cough*), and suddenly the herd of cats gets very, very focused.

Posted by: JERiv | April 26, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

If it is to be Jeb, he'd have to run from the ancestral home in Kennebunkport for Senator Rubio to be able to be his VP. The Constitution forbids both coming from the same state. (Remember how Cheney had to be "from Wyoming" to run with Bush, who as Gov of Texas couldn't be the one to move.)

I sincerely doubt that Rubio, assuming his legal troubles don't preclude victory, could do what Obama did. He'd have 2 years less experience in 2012 and by 2016 who knows what calamities we will face. Maybe by then the sea level will have risen in Florida and changed some minds about climate issues, which would be bad for the denier party.

And yes, there are huge differences among Latinos--Mexican immigrants are different from Puerto Ricans and from Cubans in Florida. Many Latino immigrants are conservative culturally, but the GOP can't appeal directly to them because their nativist wing won't let them stress jobs, education and health care, the things that immigrants and Latino-Americans are most concerned with.

Posted by: Mimikatz | April 26, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

First he has to win the 2010 Senate race and then be a senator for six years. I'm holding my breath for Crist, who stepped on Republican toes for having the audacity of making independent and/or so-called moderate decisions. I believe he should run as an independent for the sheer joy of dividing the party of "no" even further.

Posted by: groucho_smith | April 26, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The telling part is where all the Dems commenting on this only look at their political advantage if they are to cave in to this group or that group.

And that's the difference. At least someone on the other side is considering the well-being of the nation....and it ain't the Democrats.

Posted by: WrongfulDeath | April 26, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

@Mimikatz: On appealing to Latinos. Another thing that matters is that, from what I've seen, you're much more likely to be made feel like an outsider, or told "you're in America, speak English", by a conservative person (aka Republican).

(Ironic that folks who do the "speak English here!" thing usually only know 1 language, vs the 2 or more the other person knows.)

I'm assuming it's because Republicans tend to be more socially/culturally conservative. Maybe being conservative in itself encourages an "epistemic closure" of self/culture.

Posted by: JERiv | April 26, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Lots can happen in 6 years. People can say a lot of really dumb things that can kill all of their higher aspirations...Plus, they can still lose Senate races in Florida.

Posted by: MosBen | April 26, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking maybe Mark Sanford or George Allen. Those are some promising young Republicans.

Posted by: jeffwacker | April 26, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

What are you talking about? Everybody knows that Republicans aren't race-conscious, ethnicity-conscious, gender-conscious, etc. For example, Clarence Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court because he was the best man for the job, and Michael Steele became chair of the RNC because he was the best man for the job. Period. Race had nothing to do with it.

P.S. How did making Sarah Palin VP candidate work for John McCain in terms of getting the women's vote?

Posted by: JamesCody | April 26, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

What are you talking about? Everybody knows that Republicans aren't race-conscious, ethnicity-conscious, gender-conscious, etc. For example, Clarence Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court because he was the best man for the job, and Michael Steele became chair of the RNC because he was the best man for the job. Period. Race had nothing to do with it.

P.S. How did making Sarah Palin VP candidate work for John McCain in terms of getting the women's vote?

Posted by: JamesCody | April 26, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

What are you talking about? Everybody knows that Republicans aren't race-conscious, ethnicity-conscious, gender-conscious, etc. For example, Clarence Thomas was appointed to the Supreme Court because he was the best man for the job, and Michael Steele became chair of the RNC because he was the best man for the job. Period. Race had nothing to do with it.

P.S. How did making Sarah Palin VP candidate work for John McCain in terms of getting the women's vote?

Posted by: JamesCody | April 26, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Here in Arizona John McCain proved what people been saying for years that he's a racist. John McCain was an outspoken supporter of the immigration bill. Then was he got back to Washington and our lying senator said "no need" for the federal gov. to rush into a immigration bill" What a liar we have for a senator. But we known for years that McCain's a racist. He voted NO for the Martin Luther King Holiday and voted NO to confirm Justice Sotomayor a well qualified Latino woman to the Supreme Court.

Posted by: budsan1 | April 26, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

A Cuban in Florida may be a strong candidate for statewide office but if you think Republican Primary voters are going to support anyone with a Hispanic surname in a national context you are sadly wrong.
Republicans in Texas are hard pressed to nominate Hispanic surname candidates because the primary electorate is so conservative and so Anglo.
Rove and Bush understand this and have been appealing for years to Latino voters with a cultural outreach. This effort has been swamped by a Republican backlash that sometimes takes the appearance of intolerance if not racism.
Mr. Rubio should be questioned about the Arizona immigration legislation.
Obama's stellar performance in the Iowa Democratic caucuses in 2008 would have to be replicated by Rubio in any future national election.
To be sure, there are Latino Republican officeholders...but not many.

Posted by: MikeKelly45 | April 26, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

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