“Jeb, Marco and the Donald”
What a week of contrasts in American Presidential politics. The bright side includes Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio; then there is ignorant bigotry. The bigotry burst forth from the Black Hole of bigotry, that is, the mind of self-described “billionaire” Donald “The Donald” Trump.
First, Miami-based Jeb Bush pulled out all stops to make his long-awaited formal announcement for the Republican Presidential nomination at Miami-Dade College.
Salsa music provided the tempo to a crowd filled with Cuban Americans, Central and South American immigrants who came to the U.S. for opportunity, become citizens and now support a man they know, who knows them well.
Jeb Bush had studied them and their culture in college, he worked in Venezuela, he learned the language and he performed the most cherished act any man can, he married one of them. He married a Mexican, Columba and they have three bi-lingual children. In four decades of the marriage, he became one of them, he also became a Catholic making the “leap” from his Yankee White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) history to join the hundreds of millions of Latin Americans who are born into the Church.
He also appeals to these Hispanics because as Florida’s governor, the “Education” governor, he set out to raise the educational level of Black and Hispanic kids. It worked. Florida Black and Hispanic kids led the nation under Bush. He also implemented – despite teacher union lawsuits – a school voucher that poor Black and Hispanic kids can utilize to attend better schools.
The crowd roared and standing ovations, one after another, became frenzied when he switched to Spanish. His name might be Bush but he was one of them.
The week ended with native-son U.S. Senator Marco Rubio when he showed up with his wife and four children to the annual Lincoln Day Dinner of the Miami-Dade Republican Party. Miami-Dade Republican Chairman Nelson Diaz had invited Marco to address the dinner a year ago, long before Rubio set his candidacy for President in motion.
This was a rip-roaring sold-out rubber chicken GOP fund-raising dinner that turned out to be an emotional collective endorsement of a home town boy that six months ago was considered to be a light-weight long shot for the Republican nomination.
Marco Rubio lit up the ballroom. Every single Cuban American in the room roared their appreciation for their “paisano,” even if they support an old friend, Jeb Bush. Marco! Marco! They chanted.
He joked about the New York Times’ exposing his “luxury speedboat” that masquerades as “a fishing boat;” the crowd laughed. He regaled them with: He was one of them and like them gave his parent’s credit for coming to America with nothing and building an American family from which one is now running for President of the U.S.A. Marco! Marco!
Sure, Rubio gave a mostly stump speech as did his friend Jeb Bush a few days earlier. But those speeches work when delivered honestly and passionately.
Sandwiched between Bush’s announcement and Rubio’s Miami speech, crafted as they were for crowds heavily peopled with Hispanic supporters and activists, was the 45-minute Donald Trump announcement that he was rich. He also stated that he was smarter than anyone who has ever “negotiated” a deal for the United States; over and over he told us he was “really rich.”
Like long-ago Senator Joe McCarthy and his famous “list of known State Department Communists” that he never showed anyone, Trump brandished a piece of paper around that he claimed proved he was rich. Who has seen that piece of paper that “proves” Trump is rich?
Boorishly bragging that he is “really rich” is one thing; Trump always does that. What’s new is his declaration that Mexico is our enemy, that he will build a “Great Wall” along the entire border to end Mexico’s exploitation of the United States. Not only that but he would “make Mexico pay for the wall.”
He told Fox’s Sean Hannity that Mexico was not “sending us their best.” Mexico, Trump claims, is sending us drug people, murderers and rapists, implying that that is all Mexico sends us; no oil, no cars, no air planes, no car parts, no construction cement, no fruits and vegetables, no seafood, no flat screen TVs or more than 500,000 farmworkers who produce much of our food. He ignores the fact that as many as 14 million or more Americans work in trade with or from Mexico and Canada or in manufacturing of cars ($20 billion worth to Mexico alone in 2012) and myriad products for sale to Mexico ($240 billion in 2012, 15% of all U.S. Exports). U.S. government stats, folks.
He would put an end to all that with his “wall that Mexico will pay for.”
Trump has teased us before with political buffoonery but he has never run for President. If he does now, given Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Hispanics have an opportunity to help bury Trump and “Trumpies” with ridicule, for good.
Trump will never be nominated. On the bright side, Bush or Rubio can be.
Contreras formerly was syndicated by Creators Syndicate and the New America News Service of the New York Times