Marco Rubio released his Spotify playlist yesterday. It couldn't have been more hilarious, and, in a sense, very troubling.
Apparently, Marco Rubio exclusively listens to the rhythms of America's suburban and white and cliche youth. His Spotify list teems with top-40 trying-to-stay-with-it songs.
But the most striking feature of the list? With the exception of one Carlos Vives -- and the surprising selection of the sexual and languid "Fruta Fresca" -- Rubio's public Spotify is entirely non-Latin.
And no, Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" doesn't count.
In 2008, after Barack Obama bamboozled Republicans en mass, Karl Rove was driven into apparent apoplexy, writing in Newsweek, "An anti-Hispanic attitude is suicide." But it was difficult to achieve much traction through the 2010 mid-term elections, while paying homage to white America and the Tea Party paid off so well.
Now it's 2013. The Republicans got creamed again, losing even more ground among Hispanics in the last elections after running Mittington Romneytron. Nationwide, Obama won 73 percent of the Latin vote compared to Willard's 23 percent. Even in Florida, which normally breaks evenly, Obama netted 58 percent while Romney got 40 percent.
Was it the man, the issues, or the party?
Over the last several weeks, Marco Rubio has led Republicans in a push to reform immigration, saying while he doesn't want a pathway to citizenship, he supports transitioning our 11 million undocumented workers into American citizens. (Translation: a pathway to citizenship.)
But the dominant personality of the Republican Party -- white, old, cranky -- still apparently has great sway over Rubio, even if it sank the party into irrelevance.
By every indication, Rubio is considering a run at president in 2016, and, if he does, he has a pretty good shot at the nomination. He's good-looking, articulate, Floridian -- and Latin.
This above all makes Rubio the Republican Party's most viable option. But if he's actually going to win, and capture not just more than 23 percent of the Latin vote -- but a majority -- he needs to be more Latin in manner and, yes, music preferences.
The descendants of Latin America don't all vote the same. Nor will they vote for a Hispanic just because he is one. But Rubio's Spotify playlist -- as petty as it may be -- is just one manifestation of a larger problem in his public persona.
The social media exhibits what you want people to think you listen to, and Marco has missed a chance. In four years, the Hispanic vote will be more important than it is now. It will reshape this nation, as well as the Republican Party -- if conservatives let it.
So, Marco. Put some Juan Luis Guerra and Luis Miguel on your playlist. And drop Coldplay. No one listens to them anymore. Even white people.
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