Jeb Bush is beginning to run for presidente on one platform and one platform only: that he can deliver the Republican party to El Dorado – that is, the Mexican masses who are the future of America and can keep the GOP from going the way of the Whigs.
Yes, he’s the brother of George 43 and son of George 41, and he successfully ran Florida for eight years, an effort that deserves a Macarthur Genius grant or something. But the only thing that distinguishes Jeb from the other Reeps interested in throwing their sombrero into the 2016 presidential race is his relationship with Latinos.
See, Jeb has this crazy idea that Latinos are humans and worthy of living in this country, something that he’s tried to teach to his fellow conservatives to no avail. So instead, he’s made a point of reaching out to us, from anti-Castro Cubans in Miami, to the immigrants to whom he can speak in perfect Spanish, to his very own family: his wife is a Mexican immigrant.
Jeb Bush won the Latino vote in his two gubernatorial races, so he seems like the perfect candidate to save the GOP from its xenophobic meltdown. (Even if Latino voters in Floridawere way more conservative back in the 90s than the increasingly Democratic national voting bloc of today.) His family is a fabulous metaphor for the browning of America. (Even if his daughter has had her drug problems , but, hey: who says Mexicans can’t assimilate?) And you gotta give Jeb respect for inflicting his “little brown ones” (as abuelito George 41infamously referred to his own grandchildren ) on a party that desperately needs color.
But isn’t it telling about the current state of the Republican Party that its great brown hope is a doughy gringo who goes by the name ... Jeb? Even if he did have a record as sterling as César Chávez, there’s just no way Jeb Bush can win the 2016 election – because he won’t attract the very base he’s running on.
For one, Jeb must first emerge unscathed through a brutal primary in which opponents will hurl nasty smears against Latino immigrants and try to paint Jeb as an amnesty lover unworthy of the nomination. It already happened during the 2014 election, when Jeb stumped for North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis and made a case for comprehensive immigration reform, only to have Thillis blurt out this in front of a bemused crowd: “You have to make it clear that amnesty shouldn’t be on the table.” Sadly, Jeb will have to listen to pendejo advisors and adopt a harsher rhetoric to run through the gauntlet of gringos – even if he doesn’t believe it – because you know that flip-flopping vendido Marco Rubio will. By the time Jeb is actually the Republican candidate for president, any Latino goodwill he might’ve earned in the past will go the way of the peso.
More importantly, Latinos are tired of political dynasties as they are of gringos, if not more so. After all, we come from a region where nepotism is a fine art, and older hermano Dubya’s legacy and Papi Bush’s ineffectual term will simply weigh down Jeb’s chances with Latinos. Things would’ve been much different if it was Jeb who ran among the Bush niños in 2000, back when the GOP was savvy enough in attracting its Mexican bloc that the party had ranchera legend Vicente Fernandez croon during the Republican National Convention. Back then, Jeb wouldn’t have had to deal with noxious, anti-immigrant Tea Partiers; we would have had a country ready to embrace a Republican after Clinton fatigue, kind of like his brother did. Back then, Latinos were not yet as angry with the GOP as they are today, as furious as they will be after a Republican majority destroys immigration reform in 2015.
Dubya could’ve just been tasked with cleaning the Bush’s Kennebunkport compound, and (almost) all would’ve been right with a more inclusive America. But we know what happened instead, and now here comes another Bush (almost) running again.
Jeb: you don’t stand a chance. Here’s a better idea: Sit this one out, and groom George P to run in the 2024 election. He gets Latinos even more than you, and you can teach him how to navigate politics in a Latino-heavy state while serving as Texas land commissioner. Besides, a decade from now, Mexico and the United States will probably just be one entity anyway, and both countries will accept the third generation of a political dynasty and embrace our swarthy savior to deliver us from the two-term tyrant known as Hillary.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014