For one thing, there is the age factor. So-called YUCA’s (Young Urban Cuban Americans) have been subtly declaring their independence over the years and shown a willingness to break with the right-wing views of their parents and grandparents. Often, they simply vote for the person they like best. Politically, they’re fluid. In fact, I know a lot of young Cuban-American Republicans who voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
Also, the Cold War is a historical footnote. If you mention “The Castro Brothers” to this group, they’re likely to think you’re talking about Joaquin and Julian, the Democratic rock stars from San Antonio. Indeed, surveys from Florida International University indicate that younger Cubans are much less hawkish, particularly when it comes to our dealings with Havana, than their elders. In any case, both Cruz and Rubio opposed the lifting of the Cuban embargo by the Obama Administration. So this won’t be an issue one way or another — either for younger voters, or older counterparts. It’s a wash.
Then there is ideology. If the Latino Republican vote comes down to who is the more dependable conservative, the nod will go to Cruz. But if this group cares more about which candidate identifies more with his culture and will probably do more for Latinos in the long run, it’ll be advantage Rubio.
And then comes values. As I’ve written, Cruz thinks America is about freedom, while Rubio believes the nation represents opportunity.