Senator Ted Cruz may be Latino, but this heritage is not something he often discusses. During a recent visit to the Rio Grande Valley, Cruz reminded everyone that he’s Latino. And that his opponent, Beto O’Rourke, is not.
“I am the son of a Cuban immigrant who came here with nothing,” Cruz said, (though it’s important to note that as a Cuban immigrant, Cruz’s dad had more advantages than other immigrants), according to the Houston Chronicle. “I’m the first Hispanic senator ever to represent Texas… Listen, the O’Rourke campaign clearly hopes voters think he’s Hispanic. He’s not.”
The candidate hasn’t made similar statements in other parts of Texas, but in this Democrat-heavy area, where early voting has reached record numbers, Cruz decided to speak about his background.
During the event, Cruz recounted when a reporter asked him if O’Rourke’s victory will be good for diversity, the senator said, “Is there a shortage of Irishmen in the Senate?”
And while it’s true that Cruz is, in fact, Latino and O’Rourke has Irish ancestry, having ties to Cuba doesn’t mean that Ted is serving the Latino community in Texas. O’Rourke, who is a fluent Spanish speaker, has reached out to our community, including running Spanish-language ads and visiting all of Texas 254 counties. “He’s been hitting all the right notes messaging wise and identifying himself with the Latino community,” said José Parra, the CEO of consulting firm Prospero Latino.
This isn’t to say that O’Rourke isn’t flawed (he’s been criticized for trying to gentrify El Paso and displace Latinos in the city). But with Cruz favoring an end to Obamacare, supporting Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship and stricter immigration laws, as well as his attacks to women’s reproductive rights (he once criticized Marco Rubio for reportedly not wanting to use Congress’ “constitutional authority to defund Planned Parenthood“), there’s a lot of damage he intends to do and keep doing to the Latino community.