The New York Times thinks it knows why two Hispanic men winning over 50% of the vote in Iowa is not newsworthy: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio don’t act like real Latinos.
“How is that not being celebrated as historic or at least worth a headline for a day or two?” the Times asked. “The answer is not that complicated: Neither Mr. Cruz nor Mr. Rubio meets conventional expectations of how Latino politicians are supposed to behave.”
And how should they act? First, they should speak for the Hispanic population and get a “crucial portion” of the Hispanic vote, but unfortunately, “[n]either 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.”
Of course, one of their most glaring shortcomings on the authentic Latino scale is that neither is pro-illegal immigrant enough. “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,” explained the Times
The other major strike against them, suggests the paper, is that they’ve betrayed their “roots.” For this argument, the Times turned to journo-activist Jorge Ramos, self-appointed authoritative voice for the Hispanic people, who said, “There is no greater disloyalty than the children of immigrants forgetting their own roots. That is a betrayal.”
For more authentic Latino evidence, the Times turned to La Opinión, which also underscored that Latinos weren’t celebrating Cruz’s win in Iowa because he’d supposedly denied his Hispanic identity. La Opinión found that Cruz’s Iowa victory speech, unthinkably, included a call for enforcing current immigration laws, while Rubio’s personal immigration story was probably just pandering to moderates:
In their caucus night speeches Mr. Cruz pounded home his vows to crack down on unauthorized immigration, while Mr. Rubio emphasized his immigrant parents’ struggle to realize the American dream. The contrast was not lost on Latino journalists. La Opinión’s story on Mr. Rubio had him “walking a tightrope” on immigration, mollifying the Republican base with tough talk while using his own immigration story to appeal to moderates.
Though the Times notes that Latino identities are “even less fixed and categorical than those of African-Americans” because of their diverse historical experiences, it still made more than clear that embracing the left’s immigration policies and racial rhetoric is essential if they ever hope to be true Latinos.