“Brilliant move!” Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted about actress Eva Longoria Bastón’s emcee role on the first night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
“No one is more in touch with the challenges & obstacles faced by everyday Americans than actors & celebrities.”
There was instant, online backlash. What else could be expected from a tweet regarding a convention that was completely virtual?
The senator from Florida, who not too long ago was the sweetheart of the right, was tweeting an off-the-cuff, smarty-pants quip. It wasn’t original; it’s a common observation from the right whenever a celebrity uses the spotlight in support of the left. It was a remark made along party lines, the type that sounds rehearsed and stale. And it wasn’t personal; it’s not as if he made a snarky remark about Longoria Bastón’s “small hands.” But for those of us who’ve had an eye on Rubio from way back, it was disappointing.
It was not so long ago Rubio was riding high. Young, Cuban American and charismatic, he put forth a vibe the Republican old guard was missing. He spoke of his parents’ immigrant story and their sacrifices for the American Dream. He worked to move Florida further right and said Ronald Reagan was his inspiration in a very Alex P. Keaton way. He delivered the State of the Union response in 2013. He ran for president in 2016, and things were looking good for the young upstart who spoke to conservative Latinos. Time Magazine called him “The Republican Savior.”
But that was before he struggled on the presidential campaign trail, especially after attacking then-candidate Donald Trump. It was before he had issues with personal credit card charges on a business account. It was before he told a survivor of a high school shooting, who asked him if he’d pass on National Rifle Association campaign donations, that he’d always accept the help of those who agreed with his agenda. And it was before he tweeted a photo of himself shaking hands with Rep. Elijah Cummings in an attempt to honor Rep. John Lewis.
It’s what happens when one is beholden to the party or the job but not necessarily the people.
On ExpressNews.com: Republican Wesley Hunt tries to use health care to break through in race against Lizzie Fletcher
Longoria, on the other hand, earned the applause she received for her role in this year’s Democratic National Convention. The Mexican American actress from South Texas nailed it, just like she did four years ago when she proudly told delegates, “I’m with her!” And eight years ago when she told delegates she was working to re-elect President Barack Obama because the Eva Longoria who worked at Wendy’s while in college needed a tax break, but the Eva Longoria who works on movie sets did not.
Predictable along party lines? Sure. What is impressive is that she doesn’t have to be involved but sees it as her duty as an American. Recently, she told the “Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah that both parties need to do a better job understanding Latino voters rather than approaching this group as one giant bloc they assume votes Democrat.
On ExpressNews.com: Fact-checking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s claims about the murder rate in Austin
She’s not just punting to politicians, either. On Aug. 31, Longoria Bastón, actress America Ferrera and a handful of other Latina leaders launched She Se Puede, a digital platform that aims to educate, inform and empower Latina voters, reminding them they have the power to transform their lives, communities and their nation. She Se Puede aims to curate a social network promoting a modern Latina lifestyle, with articles and videos on food, parenting, wellness and beauty, but primarily civic engagement. It’s a fresh approach at reaching those who don’t vote because they don’t think their vote makes a difference.
And isn’t that something the Democratic old guard is missing?
It’s the new face of Latinx political activism, and it’s real. So real, in fact, that she touched up her COVID-19 lockdown roots on a TV commercial.