No More Boring White Guys for the GOP
“A friend of mine, a Hispanic entrepreneur, asked me a question some time ago. He said, ‘When is the last time you saw a Hispanic panhandler?’ I think it’s a great question. I’ll tell you, in my life I never once have seen a Hispanic panhandler, because in our community it would be viewed as shameful to be out on the street begging.”
That was Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz of Texas on “Fox News Sunday.” He went on to make the case that Latinos are culturally conservative and economically entrepreneurial.
Just for the record, I’ve seen a Latino panhandler or two. Or at least I think they were Latino — I don’t usually quiz panhandlers about their ethnic backgrounds.
But Cruz is right that there do seem to be fewer Latino beggars than other ethnicities (though in my experience, Asian-Americans are the biggest shirkers when it comes to creating an ethnically diverse lumpenproletariat), and I think Cruz’s pride in this fact is refreshing — and helpful.
I’ve been saying for a while now that this is the last presidential election in American history where the GOP will benefit from having a boring white guy as the presidential nominee.
This is not a point about racial animosity toward Barack Obama, perhaps the most exaggerated issue of the last four years. The key, as it relates to 2012, is not the white part of that formulation, it’s the boring part. The operatic nature of Obama’s campaign in 2008 and his inability to live up to the expectations he set for himself have created a market for bland Mr. Fixit types.
But going forward, the GOP needs to figure out a way to become more appealing to new constituencies, particularly younger voters and Latinos.
Boring white guys aren’t great for that project. But candidates like Ted Cruz are.