But while he may be the best chance the GOP has to drag the party into the 21st century and connect with an essential part of the electorate, it may not be much of a chance after all. Because the problem between the GOP and Latinos isn’t marketing—it’s their policies. Marco Rubio may just be another GOP attempt to put lipstick on a pig.
The share of Latinos who identify as Republican over the last 15 years has remained relatively stable. According to Pew Hispanic Research, about 25 percent of Latinos identified as Republican in 1999, while 27 percent of Latinos did in 2014. That isn’t likely to change by much in 2016. And Rubio isn’t polling well among Latinos at the moment. Latino Decisions reports that Marco Rubio has a net-negative favorability rating in each state they polled except for Texas, where his net-favorability rating is a wash. The bottom line: Where Republicans go, anti-immigrant policies will follow.