Friday, January 30, 2015
Of Marco Rubio and the Republican Party: Coping with the minority gap in Reagan’s Party?
Keywords or Terms: Reaganomics Sympathizers; Luxury Yachts and Homes; Minorities; Earned Income Credits; Cuban American Marco Rubio; Anna Rogers, Conservative group American Crossroads; Karl Rove; immigration Reform; Poverty Eradication; President Ronald Reagan; Godfather of Republican Conservative Values; Right-wing Movement; Tea Party Group; President Barack Obama; Travels to Cuba; America’s Political Experience; Narcissistic Culture; NAACP; 1964 Civil Rights Act; Barry Goldwater; President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Republican leadership – especially the Reaganomics sympathizers – laments the dart of minorities in their party. Each holds views that the free market system needs no invisible hand to correct for the excesses of the market place or the short-comings of their doctrine. In consequence they declare, “Minorities” are welcomed in the party, as long as they are willing to work, even for meager wages that put them always below the poverty line. They introduce policies and programs that take away the possibility of a living wage for many underprivileged groups and go behind in their luxury yachts and homes to celebrate their conquest of the marketplace, while talking about how lazy many of the minority groups are; and, why the Earned Income Credit line item deduction on federal income tax is a transfer payment that the system can no longer afford.
This is hardly surprising. The spectrum of their contact with many of these minority groups is probably limited to their housekeeper and groundskeeper, who often are immigrants from Latin America. Apart from this group, the ‘Reaganites’ hardly seek out other minorities and pay attention to their opinions regarding the challenges of surviving in a cut-throat competitive marketplace, where winners always takes all. The question of wage stagnation and immigration which probably form the anchor for the Cuban American Marco Rubio’s quest for Republican Party’s flag bearer are shared by a whole lot of people of color, majority of who are hardly Republicans. No one – least of the Republican leadership – shares sympathy with Rubio’s Mexican-born spouse opinion that illegal immigrants come to the United States to provide for their families out of love. Neither are they also interested in eradication of voter’s identification laws and reforming the criminal justice system. Marco Rubio can therefore rest assured that he has the slightest chances of being nominated as his party’s flag bearer. Apart from the candidacy of his fellow Florida Republican Jeb Bush, Marco’s support is rather thin among Republican rank and file; and, his constant and fierce criticism of President Barack Obama is hardly going to win him currency with other minority groups in America.
Rubbing Shoulders with Conservative Republicans and Reganites
It is true of the idiom, show me your friends and I would tell you who you are. Marco Rubio’s choice of Anna Rogers, the finance director of the Conservative group, American Crossroads, as his fundraiser in California as well as, finance director of his Presidential Campaign, is rather telling of where Rubio’s ambitions and sympathies lie. Voters will recall that Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush adviser, founded American Crossroads. Karl Rover probably has fewer admirers in today America, although he holds bag for many rich Republicans who like to claim Ronald Reagan as the Godfather of Republican Conservative Values.
Reaganites that Rubio is rubbing shoulders with are not more likely to feel at home with immigration reforms or allow more undocumented immigrants to remain in America. Cuban-Americans who have established deep roots in Miami will inform Rubio that the singular action of President Barack Obama to afford for American travels to his native ancestral land has done more good for that island nation than his presidential candidacy can ever do for the same group; and or, Latin America as a whole. Meteoric rise in a more right wing tilted Republican Party for a minority is likely to have more difficulties; Rubio’s candidacy could have been better served by a much centrist or liberal Republican party.
The right-wing movement of the party, the Tea Party Group insurgent, makes it difficult to canvass for enough party votes to lead to a flag-bearer’s nominee. The insurgents of the Tea Party group in the Republican Party is a radical conservatism which many Republican leaders are finding difficult to contain; or unable to manage for a number of reasons that are better left for other times. Marco Rubio’s candidacy is in line with my philosophy of encouraging more minorities to seek higher national political office. However in the case of the Republican Party, Americans understand correctly that a decision to seek party nomination, or one to go it alone out of association or familiarization with some pseudo-power broker by a minority candidate, has the potential of producing two perversely unexpected results. First, to ward off claim of tokenism, Marco Rubio’s presidential candidacy must be broad-based enough within the Republican Party; just as Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008 in the Democratic Party. Rubio’s 2016 candidacy may improve the ability of future minority members of the Republican Party to seek party nomination as flag bearer; but hardly for Marco Rubio in the present day Republican Party. One may want to liken Marco Rubio’s this time around to Jesse Jackson’s in the 1984 Democratic Primary. Second, Marco Rubio’s candidacy could actually bring a reflection in Republican Party’s leadership; or, a new cautiousness among Republicans who would rather continue to push the party to the far right political culture. It should now be clear to the Reaganites, who claim to be sympathetic to the affairs of minorities that, when their party can hardly put forward a minority to lead in the capacity of a Presidential candidate, then there is hardly the question of diversity in the Republican Party. Maybe Marco Rubio’s candidacy will prevent the bus of disunity from going much farther and faster down the road of conservative Armageddon that will herald into America’s Political Experience, Narcissistic Culture.
With its huge Presidential Campaign contribution chest, Republicans certainly have the wherewithal to defend their values. Their campaign chest with the reported Koch brother’s donation of close to 900 million, definitely, the Republican party has enough money to re-arrange support for a capable candidate, even if only a minority as the party’s flag bearer. The good news is that, by every lesson of history, a person, party or institution, can move towards a better or improved stratosphere. Marco Rubio’s candidacy can contribute more to the diversity that is currently absent in the Republican Party. The bad news is that the diversity clock of the Republican Party has the tendency of moving too slowly; and with too little and too late in response to minority group’s pressure.
It is true nevertheless, that the numbers of minorities seeking Republican Party nomination as flag bearer are improving with the passing of time. As further evidence, the potential Republican class of 2016 minority candidates for party’s flag bearer, may include an African-American neurosurgeon, Bob Carson; an Indian-American governor, Bobby Jindal; one Hispanic Senator, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and a female business leader, Carly Fiorina. Those who wonder about the exclusion of Ted Cruz, the Senator from Texas is Canadian-born, that disqualifies him according to US constitution. The growing number of minorities has the potential of growing the big tent, as the Republicans sarcastically always put it. It is no longer news that the Party has struggled on the issue of diversity since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential nominee opposed diversity of their party when then Democratic President, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed the Civil Rights Act into law. This current terrain is a hard or tough one, if you ask Anne Romney?
We can expect that as more minorities put themselves up to serve, each major political party will continue to give them the opportunity. The Presidency of Barack H. Obama has brightened the chances of others. The current spade of minorities in the Republican class of 2016 is a new development that can broaden diversity and participation in national elections of minorities at the Presidential level. Hopefully this will not be an option for the Republican Party. To paraphrase Benjamin Jealous, former President of NAACP, Republicans have to make a decision about whether they are going to build a meaningful multiracial coalition that respect the civil rights of people in this country or they are going to continue to play the dog-whistle politics that has besmirched the Republican Party. Common sense or the realities of this time say, the party may not continue to alienate minorities by pushing archaic laws like the voter identification laws that disproportionately impact minorities while resisting changes in immigration and criminal justice system on the road to diversifying their party.