Congratulations, Gabriel Gomez. You just earned yourself a spot on top of the Democratic National Committee’s hit list.
It’s not just because you’re the Republican nominee for Senate. Or because you’re a Washington outsider who threatens to prevent lifelong political hack Ed Markey from becoming “Senator for life.”
It’s not even because you’re a Boston Marathon-running, former Navy SEAL who exudes the kind of patriotism that embarrasses many liberals today.
You’re new to politics, so I’ll be blunt. Democrats may dislike Republicans, but they despise Republican minorities.
The simple reason is, of course, electoral. Crucial to Democratic success is a trifecta of subgroups: minorities (including Latinos), young people, and women. This coalition has been described as a three-legged stool. A Republican who can even begin to crack one of the legs can potentially knock the stool over.
In 2008 and 2012 Obama won all three groups handily. But in 2000 and 2004, George Bush had significant success with Latinos — perhaps enough to ensure victory for the GOP.
As the child of Colombian immigrants and a fluent Spanish speaker, your candidacy will resonate with many Hispanic voters. And you will communicate better than Markey with those whose first language is Spanish.
You have the potential to siphon off not only Latino votes, but also the votes of young people and women who may view your campaign as a sign of GOP inclusiveness.
But your candidacy does more than just undermine the Democrats’ electoral strategy. It contradicts their ideological world-view and threatens to derail their policy objectives.
Why? Because your biography refutes the liberal stereotype of the permanently victimized Hispanic. Although a first-generation American who didn’t absorb English until you got to kindergarten, you easily assimilated, excelled in school, and embraced the country that welcomed your parents to its shores. You served this country as an aircraft carrier pilot and Navy SEAL, earned a Harvard MBA, and made it big in business. You are a poster boy for the American Dream. And Democrats hate you for it because it undermines their narrative of grievance.
Class warfare is today the liberal ammunition of choice, and so rather than celebrate your success, Democrats will be inclined trash it. But be prepared. Democrats know they cannot paint you, like Mitt Romney, as an emblem of privilege. And so they will tweak their strategy and use your venture capitalist resume not as negative in and of itself, but as a means to undermine your ethnic authenticity.
It is, of course, not just your bio, but your policy views that jeopardize the Democratic story line. Your views on immigration, affirmative action, and entitlement reform demonstrate that not all Latinos favor open borders, racial quotas, and cradle-to-grave government support. But your nuanced and moderate approach to these issues makes it difficult for Dems to label you a zealot.
And so, they will try with all their might to make sure that this campaign is not actually about you, but about Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell, and others they can more easily demonize.
For Democrats, the stakes are high. Should you be elected, it will be hard for them to write you off as an outlier, as you will join Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and recently elected Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as the third Latino Republican in the United States Senate.
As Andy Warhol once said: “Two’s a crowd, but three’s a party.”
Well, maybe not in politics. But it’s certainly a caucus.