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Republicans Like Ted Cruz Are Going To Need A Lot More Than A Spanish Last Name To Win Latinos

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Can simply being Latino be enough to help Ted Cruz win over Latino voters in 2016? According to La Opinion — the most-read Spanish-language daily in the nation — probably not:

Cruz’s chances to win the Republican nomination are slim, as the list of aspiring nominees to the 2016 election will be long. This despite the fact that many are already behaving as candidates even though they still have not announced it.

The early presence of Cruz in the primaries guarantees that the agenda of the Tea Party – which supports the Texas elected official – will be front and center in the Republican party’s internal debate. This will push the rest of the pre-candidates – who need the support of the ultra-conservative faction – to the extreme right.

At the same time, Cruz’s presence opens the door to the question of whether it is enough to have a Spanish-speaking or Latino candidate to gain the support of the Hispanic community. In his case, his agenda and style – which made him stand out in the Senate – make him incompatible with the Hispanic majority.

Republicans know they have a Latino Problem, and big-time. So perhaps it was no surprise that when Cruz announced his candidacy (becoming the first Latino Republican to run for the Presidency in three decades), a few Republican operatives speculated it could be a way to make inroads to Latinos.

But, as La Opinion writes, Cruz’s extremism in the Senate only exacerbates the GOP’s Latino Problem.

When it comes to Cruz’s anti-immigrant record (fighting to end protections for DREAMers, fighting to end November 2014’s immigration actions, and his futile attempt to insert a poison pill amendment into the Senate’s 2013 immigration bill, to begin with), he’s perhaps second only to Alabama’s Jeff Sessions when it comes to anti-immigrant extremism.

It’s true Cruz isn’t really trying to win any favor with those immigrants to begin with. But with 64% of registered Latino voters saying that they know someone who is undocumented — and one in three saying they’re related to someone who is undocumented — there’s no doubt that those voters will be in their corner when it comes to casting a vote in 2016:

There was a time when it was believed that babbling in Spanish and bringing in a mariachi were enough to make a candidate win the Latino vote. However, the political maturity of the Hispanic community has grown along with its demographics, and it has gained spaces and presence to the point that its vote can decide an election.

Cruz’s pre-candidacy reminds everyone that Latinos are an integral and diverse part of the political environment, and that it takes much more than a Spanish last name to conquer this constituency.

Republicans face a huge hurdle as they enter the 2016 season. They know they’ll need to pull at least 40% of the Latino vote in order to have a chance at winning the White House. And with a record as extremist as Ted Cruz, it’s going to take a lot more than a Spanish last name to win Latino voters.

Read the La Opinion editorial in its entirety here.