Democratic presidential contender Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has done nothing to merit the support of Latino voters, according to one Latino writer.
A Saturday USA Today commentary authored by Ruben Navarrette Jr., a member of the newspaper’s board of contributors and a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, was headlined “For Latinos, ‘Beto’ O’Rourke is just another privileged white guy trying to manipulate them.”
In his column, Navarrette wrote that O’Rourke, the former congressman from Texas, is “trying to put one over on Latinos by tricking them into thinking he’s one of them.”
Navarrette admitted that his opinion is a different take from “the news media, run by white liberals who are fascinated by other white liberals.”
After noting that to some, O’Rourke seems to be embracing Latino voters in the same way former President Bill Clinton enfolded black Americans into his presidential campaigns, Navarrette drew a different conclusion.
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“So is that the deal? Is O’Rourke aiming to become America’s first Latino president? Por favor. Please. Speaking as a Mexican-American, let me spare you the suspense: That zapato won’t fit. Sorry, Beto, you’re no Bill Clinton,” he wrote.
“What actual Latinos tell me is that they resent the presumptuousness of this supposed familiarity we’re told Beto feels with a community that he has done, at best, a mediocre job of representing when he had the chance,” he wrote.
“A Mexican-American woman who works in public relations told me O’Rourke seems condescending. Given his privilege, it is irritating that he seems to pretend that he knows and understands what bothers a demographic he’s not part of.”
Navarrette wrote that O’Rourke neither took a strong lead on immigration policy during his time in the House nor did he reach out to Latinos in the 2018 Senate race he lost to Republican Ted Cruz.
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He suggested that bearing the common Spanish nickname of “Beto” does not mean that the man born Robert Francis O’Rourke has any connection at all with the country’s Latinos, and noted that there is a growing disenchantment on the part of Latinos for O’Rourke.
“The Beto backlash reminds of the idea of stolen valor, the righteous outrage felt by combat veterans when others who didn’t see action claim medals they don’t deserve,” he wrote.
Navarrette also used the words “cynical and dishonest and manipulative” to describe the fact that O’Rourke’s father gave him a nickname with Spanish-language connotations when O’Rourke was a child to help further any possible political career.
Navarrette continued his criticism of O’Rourke in a Sunday commentary piece that appeared in the Houston Chronicle.
“Upon hearing of the arrival of our savior, my first thought was: Why not wait until Cinco de Mayo? A fake Mexican holiday created by white people to sell beer is the perfect day to kick off the candidacy of a fake Mexican candidate adored by white liberals who don’t mind the hard sell,” he wrote.
Navarrette concluded with sarcasm that O’Rourke is getting far more attention than he deserves.
“Here’s a riddle: How many Betos does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Answer: One. To hold the bulb, while the world revolves around him,” he wrote.
O’Rourke also has taken flak from Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, another presidential hopeful, after a comment O’Rourke made in a Vanity Fair profile.
“I want to be in it,” he said. “Man, I’m just born to be in it.”
During an appearance Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Klobuchar used that line to show the difference between herself and O’Rourke, NBC reported.
“No, I wasn’t born to run for office, just because growing up in the ’70s, in the middle of the country, I don’t think many people thought a girl could be president. I wasn’t born to run. But I am running,” Klobuchar said.
O’Rourke also drew attention when he said earlier this year that the principles in the Constitution might not be relevant in the 21st century.
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