On Tuesday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush released a new ad designed to appeal to Hispanic voters presumably outraged by the immigration positions of 2016 presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and women outraged by Trump’s controversial comments about women ranging from Megyn Kelly to Carly Fiorina.
The ad, which discusses the wonders of “Hispanic culture” in Spanish, features Bush’s wife Columba, whom some in the media term his “secret weapon.”
The ad, titled “Todos Somos Americanos,” begins with a picture of the American flag, then Bush surrounded by members of the media. He shakes hands with various Hispanics and then speaks to camera. About twenty seconds in, the ad shifts to his wife Columba, who is shown painting, talking about her relationship with Jeb, and talking about why her husband should be president.
Jeb narrates: “The United States of America is a great country. Thanks to the people that come from all over the world, contributing to our economy and community. To me, Hispanic culture is very important and positive.”
Columba picks up: “I have lived over half my life here. We all have the same interests, the same feelings.” Then Jeb continues, “Our values are very similar. I am proud that my children and grandchildren are Hispanic.” Why? Columba explains, “We go to church every Sunday. We have celebrations with the family and we keep our traditions. But at the end it’s just that, faith, friends and family.” Finally, Jeb concludes, “Hispanics contribute more every day to our culture; they are an integral part of the American dream. For these reasons and more, I invite you to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month because we are all Americans!”
Jeb’s “Todos somos Americanos” line echoes Barack Obama’s 2009 speech honoring Hispanic Heritage Month—the same month Jeb honors with his ad. Obama said then:
Our success has long depended on our willingness to see our challenges as ones we have to face together; our willingness to live up to a simple ideal: Todos somos Americanos. We are all Americans.
Echoing Obama’s line doesn’t seem like smart politics in a Republican primary.
Furthermore, Jeb’s contentless statements about Hispanic culture may bring the warm and fuzzies, but they’re not reflective of baseline political realities. Columba cites Hispanic religiosity and family structure as traditionally conservative, and Jeb says, “Our values are very similar,” but unfortunately, statistics show that new Hispanic immigrants do not have the same values as traditional conservatives.
Immigrant households, including Hispanic immigrant households, take welfare at a far higher rate than native-born Americans. More than half of Hispanic children are born out of wedlock, and according to 2012 exit polls, nearly six in ten Hispanics wanted same-sex marriage legalized. In the years 2010-2014, Catholic share of the Hispanic population has dropped 12 points. And among Catholic Hispanics, 64 percent think the church should allow Catholics to divorce, 59 percent think the church should allow priests to marry, and 55 percent think women should become priests. Nearly six in ten Hispanic Catholics voted Democrat in 2012.
Jeb clearly meant to salt the wound when it comes to Trump’s relationship with Hispanic voters. According to a recent CNN poll, 82 percent of Hispanics view Trump unfavorably. According to Gallup, Trump trails the entire Republican field by a wide margin in terms of favorable/unfavorable numbers, at -51 percent.
But Trump’s strategy doesn’t include winning a heavy percentage of the Hispanic vote. As I’ve written before, Mitt Romney could have picked up nearly 70 percent of the Hispanic vote and still have lost; he would have had to pick up just 3 percent more whites and he’d have won the election. Trump’s strategy in the general election also happens to work in the Republican, largely non-Hispanic primaries: draw on disaffected blue collar white (and black) voters for support.
It’s difficult to understand Jeb’s big move here. He may lock up more campaign money by appealing to coastal Republican donors who believe that winning a heavy share of Hispanics would guarantee a Republican future. And perhaps he believes he’ll spruce up his campaign by going to the bullpen early for Columba. But he won’t win primaries. And he won’t do any damage to Trump, whose support base springs from people who find Jeb’s Spanish language ad more offputting than attractive.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and The New York Times bestselling author, most recently, of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.