No More Boring White Guys for the GOP
"A friend of mine, a Hispanic entrepreneur, asked me a question some time ago. He said, 'When is the last time you saw a Hispanic panhandler?' I think it's a great question. I'll tell you, in my life I never once have seen a Hispanic panhandler, because in our community it would be viewed as shameful to be out on the street begging."
That was Republican U.S.
Just for the record, I've seen a Latino panhandler or two. Or at least I think they were Latino -- I don't usually quiz panhandlers about their ethnic backgrounds.
But Cruz is right that there do seem to be fewer Latino beggars than other ethnicities (though in my experience, Asian-Americans are the biggest shirkers when it comes to creating an ethnically diverse lumpenproletariat), and I think Cruz's pride in this fact is refreshing -- and helpful.
I've been saying for a while now that this is the last presidential election in American history where the GOP will benefit from having a boring white guy as the presidential nominee.
This is not a point about racial animosity toward
But going forward, the GOP needs to figure out a way to become more appealing to new constituencies, particularly younger voters and Latinos.
Boring white guys aren't great for that project. But candidates like
It's hardly a novel insight that the GOP needs to deal with America's changing demographics. Inside the Beltway, the conventional explanation for how Republicans should do that tends to boil down to pandering and capitulation. For instance, Hispanics care about immigration, we're told, therefore Republicans should adopt the same policies as the Democrats.
The substance of those policies aside, there are political problems with this thinking. First, Republicans rarely if ever win such bidding wars.
Second, there's a faulty assumption here: that various ethnicities, and young people generally, are both monolithic and hardwired to support certain policies and are therefore immune to persuasion.
But young people almost by definition believe in things they eventually grow out of. The same goes for Latino voters, who are not monolithic in almost any sense: racially, ethnically, religiously or ideologically.
For instance, contrary to much of what you've heard in the press, the Latino vote in
Trende argues that most of the Democratic advantage among Latinos can be explained by income. Poor people tend to vote Democratic. There are a lot of poor Latinos in the U.S. Still, if you control for income, the Latino voter becomes less distinct from the average voter.
In short, Latinos lean decidedly Democratic, but they are decidedly persuadable as well. And young politicians like Cruz -- and Sen.
White Republican politicians tend to be terrified of racial and ethnic activists and the journalists who empower them. This results in many GOP pols sounding condescending, pandering or dull when they try to reach out to minorities.
Young, energetic, whip-smart and philosophically coherent politicians like Cruz and Rubio can confidently appeal to Latinos without sounding condescending and without caving to liberal assumptions about how to win over Latinos. They're also harder to demonize.
I mean, just imagine if Romney had mused about the nation's dearth of Hispanic panhandlers.
Read the latest political news.
- Obama Leads Romney in Post-Conventions Poll
- Character, Policy and the Selection of Leaders
- The Politicization of Violence
- The Selling of American Democracy: The Perfect Storm
- Erasing W
- Losing Latino Votes
- The Party is Over: Longtime GOPer Dissects Modern Political Landscape
- Paul Ryan's Faux Populism
- Rise Up, Middle Class, Rise Up!
- A Modest Proposal: Three Weeks of Paid Vacation
- The Paul Ryan Choice
- Mitt Romney's Misguided Blue-Collar Voting Bloc
- What Mitt Romney Could Do to Connect with Hispanics
- Romney and the Republican Club
- Hurricane Isaac's Impact on the GOP
- Five Things Romney Needs from GOP convention
- The Goldwater Legacy
- Mitt Romney Risks 'Hispanic Debacle' in November
- Mitt Romney Runs Away from his Running Mate
- Paul Ryan's Magical Thinking
- Mitt Romney Finds Love in the GOP
- What Ryan Says About Romney
- Romney-Ryan: Real change
- Obama vs Romney: Meanest campaign ever?
- That's Joe Biden
- Mitt, More Gaffes Like This, Please
- Muzzle Mitt Romney on Taxes Now?
- A Debate About Debates
- Decoding Mitt Romney's Odd Humor
- After Romney Birth Certificate Joke, Dems Play the Race Card
- The 'Boring' 2012 Presidential Campaign
- Mitt Romney's 'Welfare Queen'
- Mitt Romney's Opportunity
- We're All Subsidizing Free Lunches for America's CEOs
- Washington, Are You Listening?
- Class Warfare
- Indefensible: The Truth About Pentagon Spending
- David Barton's Make-Believe Version of American History
- Onward Christian 'Teavangelicals'
- Campaigns Touch Briefly on the Wars
- 'Mad Dog' Harry Reid
- Republican Woes with Women
- Rape, Patriarchy and the Bomb
- Akin Offers Unflattering Glimpse of Widely Shared Republican Attitudes
- Todd Akin's 'Legitimate' Pain
- Todd Akin's Idiocy is Infectious
- Todd Akin's Ignorance Hardly Unique
- The Decline of Party Power
- Trapping Season
- Mitt Romney's 'Zero-Percenters'
- No More Boring White Guys for the GOP
- Eating America's Seed Corn
- Romney and Ryan Project Vague Foreign Policy
- A Storied Presidency
- There is No California
- The Koch Brothers' Moonshine
- No Need for a Witch Hunt Over Executive Pay
- US National Debate is a Disgrace
- Romney Lauds Israel's Socialized, Federally Controlled Health Care System
- A Solution to the Problem of Roaring Mouths Saying Nothing
- What Should Come First, Partisan Advantage or National Security?
- How Mitt Romney Got His
- Mitt Romney: Put up or Shut Up
- Is Obama's Best Hope The Inadequacy of His Rival?
- Mitt Romney's Foreign Folly
- Mitt Romney: An Innocent Abroad
- Mitt Romney: Showing off the GOP
No More Boring White Guys for the GOP | Politics
(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.