Fabiola Santiago

Fabiola Santiago: What do you call a Donald sandwiched between two Cuban guys?

Video: State of the presidential race in Florida

The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei describes the state of the presidential campaign in Florida, and what, or who, is getting voters excited in 2016.
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The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei describes the state of the presidential campaign in Florida, and what, or who, is getting voters excited in 2016.

You know what they say about karma.

There’s no more delicious image coming out of the Iowa caucus than Donald Trump splashed across television screens sandwiched between the infamous “two Cuban guys.”

After Iowans voted, the winning line-up looked like this: Ted Cruz with 28 percent, Donald Trump with 24 percent, and Marco Rubio with 23 percent.

This is what in Miami we call a croqueta preparada. A croquette between two crackers. A croquette in the middle of the pork and ham in a medianoche; a croquette in your Cuban sandwich.

To quote Shakespeare’s Alonso in The Tempest: “How camest thou in this pickle, Donald?”

Ah, America, this is the kind of election that will send soaring the number of young people choosing political science majors and deans rushing to add theater appreciation as a pre-requisite to entering colleges of journalism.

After months of insulting Latinos, the Donald finds himself not as undefeatable as he thought he was — and in the process, the two candidates MSNBC’s Chris Matthews dismissively called “the two Cuban guys” ended up making history by being among the top three vote-getters in Iowa. Only in America.

I can’t stand the politics of Cruz and Rubio — and I won’t hate more on Matthews, who has apologized profusely — but I sure am smiling.

Looks like Trump didn’t have to shoot anybody to lose votes.

Looks like the Latinos he underestimated — and continues to disdain — are coming at him from both ends.

The nutty one, the Texan whose culinary specialty is machine-gun-cooked bacon, made The Donald lose the first primary in America’s heartland. Worse the defeat when you consider this guy’s real name is not the cutesy “Ted Cruz.” He’s Rafael Edward Cruz, born in Calgary of an American mother and Cuban refugee father who hails not from slick Havana, but from my own humble birthplace of Matanzas. Considering how much Trump has railed against the Hawaii-born president whose father was from Kenya, this is better than pie in the face. Who knew Cruz could be good for something!

On the other side of The Donald Cuban Sandwich is an even bigger menace — pretty boy and darling of the Republican establishment, Miami’s own Marco Antonio Rubio.

Rubio comes closer to real Cuban than Cruz — born in Miami of Cuban parents (first here as immigrants, then exiles) — but not quite in the 100-percent-adored cubanito category. Sure, he was raised in West Miami (which for me conjures images of the room dedicated to the orisha Changó in the house of a family friend). But Marquito is “pasadito por Las Vegas” and was once a Mormon. Some of that may account for why he thinks he’s really, as his last name translates, blond and feels it’s OK to betray other Latinos who aren’t in the good graces of the right wing.

His own people don’t like Marco, mostly for his flip-flops on immigration reform to pander to ultra conservatives. The Cuban-American Republican establishment has endorsed Jeb! Bush. It’ll be soap-opera-interesting to see what they do now. Their candidate is all but dead in the polls, though Bush won’t give up because it’s his turn and because he and the also almost-out Ohio governor are the only sensible Republicans in the race. The 2000 win of his less intelligent brother, George W. Bush, has been attributed to this politically engaged Cuban-American voter group which, without a Bush in this race, will probably gravitate toward Rubio.

More cause for Trump to worry about the Miami side of the sandwich.

Karma. It’s a blast.

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