With Rick Scott finally reaching his term limit in 2018, we’re already hearing talk of who might potentially succeed him. One name, however, is notably absent: Armando Christian Perez, AKA Pitbull.
It’s hard to make the argument that anyone could hold Pitbull’s song lyrics against him when half the country (and a majority of Florida residents) voted for a guy who brags about sexually assaulting women. Actually, in the “grab ‘em by the pussy” era, hearing Pitbull rap, “In Brazil, they freaky with big old boobs” sounds benign by comparison.
Here are a few more reasons why he has a solid chance:
1. His transformation from street kid to family-friendly entertainer is virtually complete.
Back in the day, Pitbull used to rap about robbing people, selling drugs, and, uh, butts. These days, he’s featured on the Penguins of Madagascar soundtrack. Any street cred he might have once had has completely evaporated as he’s pursued endorsement deals with Dr. Pepper and Bud Light. He even has his own charter school and his own Bahamas cruise. In other words, he has absolutely zero edge, which makes him totally electable.
2. Rick Scott will totally endorse him.
After Pitbull appeared at Scott's campaign fundraiser in 2014, the two hung out at Pitbull’s birthday last year (which was declared “Pitbull Day” in the state of Florida) and presumably compared notes on what it’s like to be a bald guy who wears suits all the time.
3. He’d be the first Cuban-American governor.
If that's not enough to convince you, consider that currently, one out of four Florida residents is Latino. It’s about time we see some representation in the state’s highest office.
4. He can hang with both Democrats and Republicans.
In 2012, Pitbull publicly supported Obama and even introduced him at a campaign stop at Hollywood’s MacArthur High. Last fall, however, he spent some quality time with both Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, although he claimed neither of them was looking for endorsements. "They like to hang out and talk,” he told CNBC. “And I like to hang out and talk. I like to learn. I like to hear what they got going on and what they're thinking.” When later asked by Buzzfeed News whether he considers himself a Democrat or a Republican, Pitbull responded in classic form: “I’m not here to be part of any political party. I’m here to bring political parties to my party because they can’t, they won’t, they never will, stop the Pitbull party, Dale!”
5. He has a lot of feelings about climate change.
Despite the fact that we could see large parts of South Florida end up underwater during our lifetime, some of our elected officials are reluctant to acknowledge that sea-level rise exists. Given that Pitbull put out an entire album titled Global Warming, we presumably won’t have that problem with him.
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6. He’s already a paid shill for the state of Florida.
For an undisclosed sum of money, Pitbull made his music video for “Sexy Beaches” into a full-blown tourism ad, which devotes as much camera time to high-rise hotels as it does to frolicking women in bathing suits. Think of it as a preview for his campaign spots.
7. He seems to favor immigration reform.
In a 2011 interview with The Guardian, Pitbull actually answered a question in real words and not vague nonanswers or aphorisms, revealing that he has a fairly reasonable perspective on immigration. His take: "I know everything in life has to have boundaries, rules and regulations. I agree with that. I don't agree when the USA, that lives by a constitution, says, OK, just because you look this way, we're going to ask you for your documentation, or you gotta go back to your country. The Arizona law [referring to a policy that would allow police to stop anyone who they had 'reasonable suspicion' was an illegal immigrant] is like we took 10 steps back. I'm watching all the refugees entering Italy from Libya, too, and all the things going down in Sri Lanka – when I watch these different forms of migration, I relate to it, because my family did the same."
8. He’ll have the charter school lobby behind him.
Pitbull is a spokesman of sorts for SLAM! Academy, a charter school that began in Miami and has now spread to Las Vegas and West Palm Beach. The exact nature of those ties is unclear, but he’s become quite the lobbyist for charter schools, even headlining at the National Charter School Conference a few years back. (In other words, he’s got the white suburban parent vote locked down.)
9. The American voting public apparently is totally down with wild-ass celebrities.
Ronald Reagan. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Donald Trump. In fact, it's hard to think of a time when a celebrity ran for public office and didn't win. Pitbull's got the money and the name recognition... why shouldn't he be next?