Senator Marco Rubio of Florida just announced his candidacy for president only a few hours after Hillary Clinton lit up the internet with “she’s got my vote,” posts from young people, many of whom were minorities. Though Rubio is the third Republican to officially enter the race, he is thought to have an advantage over canidates like Jeb Bush because of his Hispanic heritage.
In recent years, the Republican party set out increase the presence of minorities and young people within the party. As it stands now, according to Pew Research data, only 23 percent of voters identify as Republican, while 32 percent consider themselves Democrat and 39 percent are third party.
The 2015 research data also shows a huge gap in race and gender among voters. According to the data, the Democratic party holds an 80-11 percent advantage among Black voters, 56-26 percent among Hispanics, and 65-23 percent among Asian-Americans. With such statistics that don’t work in Rubio’s favor, how can he possibly be a threat to Hillary Clinton?
Marco Rubio may have an advantage purely based on his own identity. Rubio is 43-years-old, the youngest candidate in the running so far. For a party that wishes to draw a younger crowd, Marco Rubio is ideal. Marco also identifies as Christian, but his religious stamp is not as simple as that. He has reportedly switched denominations three times in his life; making him a potential favorite of most right-wingers. In his daily life, Rubio has stamped himself as Catholic, but often attends a Southern Baptist megachurch. Growing up, Rubio was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Based on the religious affiliation research data, a large percent of Christians lean towards the Republican party.
Religion is a significant indicator of the minority vote, as studies show that Hispanics and Blacks are more likely to be religious than Whites and Asians. According to a Gallup survey, Blacks are the most religious group in the United States and Hispanics are the second most religious. Though both racial groups have identified mostly as Democrats, a recent poll shows that the Republican ploy to sway minorities in the right direction is working.
A look at Marco Rubio’s platform as a Florida senator shows that he is very active in immigration reform, health reform, education, and government reform. Rubio’s has also claimed to not be against state acceptance of gay marriage and state-funded abortions for women. Rubio does not agree with federal funding of most programs, which may cause hesitation to some. Overall, there are many areas on his platform that could make Marco Rubio a minority vote competitor for Hillary Clinton.
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