Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Marco Rubio, George Lopez, and 'Hispandering' in the 2012 election

by Patt Morrison

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during a town hall-style meeting in Aston, Pa., on Monday. Jae C. Hong/AP

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will, after all, probably be vetting Florida senator and Cuban-American Marco Rubio as a potential running mate.

While there are pundits who suggest a Rubio pick would give Romney an instant voice of authority on Hispanic issues and set an historic precedent that would energize some Hispanic voters, others suggest it would be perceived by Latinos as pandering, or as the 2008 election cycle has coined it, “Hispandering.”

Romney’s move comes days after President Obama announced that under-30 Latinos whose parents brought them here illegally, and who meet certain requirements, could qualify for work permits – a temporary administrative relief to keep DREAMers from getting deported. Is that, too, “Hispandering?”

As KPCC’s Multi-American blogger Leslie Berestein-Rojas points out: “Yes, Rubio is Latino. And yes, he did recently argue for providing conditional legal status – although not a path to citizenship – for undocumented young people brought here as minors, something he described as 'a humanitarian issue.' But even as he did, there was skepticism that dates back to 2010, when then-candidate Rubio expressed a less lenient stance on immigration that initially won him Tea Party support and helped him land his Senate seat.”


What defines “Hispandering”? Is it taking a pro-Latino position in an election year? Is it, as some conservatives say, what the president did when he enlisted George Lopez and Eva Longoria to help with the Latino vote? How do you define “Hispandering”?


Luis Alvarado, Republican political strategist with Revolvis Consulting; political analyst, CNN Español, Telemundo

Esther Cepeda, columnist, The Washington Post Writers Group; former
columnist, Chicago Sun Times

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