Marco Rubio and the racism of low expectations

Watching the debate between Marco Rubio and Val Demings last night, it clicked to me why as a Cuban woman I take offence to Marco Rubio’s appearance and performance on the national stage for all these years. The racism of low expectations, I’m 57 have lived in Florida for most of my life. Despite all the attention we receive as a voting block Latinos are only about 25% of the state population. He might get a lot of the Latino vote especially we Cubans, a lot of white/Anglo people are voting for him, they think they like him because he’s so “well spoken”. The racism of low expectations, they expected nothing of him except to vote as a place holder, and he delivers when he shows up. My family’s been here since the late 1800s trust me when I say they REALLY don’t love us.

AP Photo

Congresswoman Demings has no such grace afforded to her; I heard one commentator on a local Tampa channel say maybe she’d already tapped out in her political career. Then during/after the debate some journalists without saying the words angry Black woman framed her as such. We face a lot as a nation, democracy on the edge, loss of freedoms, we expect passion. You see the expectations for Congresswoman Demings were low but different than those of Mr. Rubio. I’ll readily admit that when my Black girlfriends tell me they must work twice as hard as everyone else I understood but, I didn’t really understand until last night. It was a stark visual in how people we perceive people in this state and country.

As a Black woman people had already written her off, even Democrats because Florida is a “Red” state. Mr. Rubio has been elevated by the people in his party as proof of their diversity, proof that they’re not racist, because of his ability to speak the English language, most importantly because of the lengths that he’d go to please his donors. I’ve written before that Mr. Rubio is a wannabe, now he doesn’t know who he is.

If your entire adult life has been spent courting the adulation of certain segments of your own community and the donor class, you don’t really have an identity. He certainly wasn’t prepared for an opponent who could debate the issues in any substantive manner. None of the Republican debates over the last 6 or 7 years have been about any issues that matter to the American people. In 2018, Mr. Rubio accused Bill Nelson of trying to “rig” the election for requesting a recount which was legal under Florida law. I said that was the warmup for 2020, now here we are.

I certainly don’t think our last president caused the Republican party to lose its way. I cannot remember when the Republican party wasn’t the party of cultural grievance (Freedom Fries, Anyone?). It’s become a personality cult. As such, they simply cannot govern, 2 years of a trifecta (2017-2019) they couldn’t pass anything. I started thinking about other politicians who’ve been helped by the racism of low expectations. Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, I’m sure there are others. I call them all the Dexter Manleys (don’t get me started on Herschel Walker) of politics, a football player once so loved for his ability to “speak well” during interviews that the press fawned all over him without knowing that he graduated college without the ability to read. The danger is when they come to believe the press’ fawning and adulation and adapt everyone’s opinion of them to become their opinion of themselves. I’m not sure if Mr. Rubio is there, you can say with some certainty that if you’ve seen them run for president they have.

That kind of fawning doesn’t work for the Democratic base because the Democratic base will not accept people who cannot or will not govern. If you have any questions about who the Democratic Base is, please refer to the 2016 and 2020 South Carolina Democratic presidential primaries.

My purpose today is to make people think, think about the biases that we all are exposed to on a daily basis. Ask yourself if you subscribe to any biases and why, and what you can do in your daily life to change it is too important not to.

One comment

  1. Val Demings gives me hope! If the women in Broward vote to save Reproductive Freedom, we may see the last of Little Marco. This election is so important, and folks are so unaware of what is happening in our country.
    Thank you for this article. It touched on a lot.


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