Saturday, March 26, 2016

Those Not So All-American Republican Presidential Candidates

You may know already that Ted Cruz was born in Canada, or that Marco Rubio’s parents were both born in Cuba. What you might not know, though, is the extent that the few final Republican presidential hopefuls all have extensive ties to foreign shores.

So, here’s how I went about it … I looked at each candidate’s parents, grandparents, and spouse(s). I then simply saw what percentage of these were foreign-born. Now, let’s take a look at those rather surprising results.

Jeb Bush (13%)

Yup, even super WASP Jeb Bush makes this list. Note, though, that that’s only through marriage.

Columba Garnica Gallo was born in Mexico. She and her future husband met when Jeb went down there on something of a mission trip when he was at Phillips Andover, his super-WASPy prep school. He was 17 and she was 16 (and spoke no English). They would marry a mere four years later. She would become a naturalized US citizen in 1979.

John Kasich (44%)

Well, here’s one I wasn’t expecting. Kasich seems about as blue-collar, all-American as they get. 

Turns out, however, all four of his grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. His father’s parents were Czech and his mother’s were Croatian (her maiden name was Vukovich).

Dad, John, Sis, and Mom

Kasich’s been married twice, with both of his wives being native-born Americans.

Marco Rubio (50%)

Marco Rubio is a true first-generation American. And that means that both his parents, as well as all his grandparents were foreign-born – in particular, in Cuba.

His Dad was Marco Rubio Reina and his mom was Oriales Garcia. They came to the US three years before Castro, in 1956. They would both become naturalized citizens in 1975.

Mama y Papa

In 1962, Rubio’s maternal grandfather, Pedro Garcia, came to the US as un “undocumented immigrant,” was all set to be deported, but somehow managed to get off the hook at the last minute and stay.

Marco’s wife, though the daughter of Colombian immigrants, was herself born in Florida.

Ted Cruz (50%)

Ted Cruz is an interesting case. On the one hand, he himself was born in Canada, of a Cuban-born father. (Hey, what is it with all these Cubans?)  On the other hand, though, his mom seems to be pretty all-American.

Ted’s dad, Rafael, is an interesting one as well. Born in Cuba, he originally supported Castro, coming to the US in the late 50s. He was actually a Canadian citizen when Ted was born, becoming a US citizen only in 2005. Bet you didn’t know that Ted’s real first name is Rafael as well.

Ted's wife, Heidi Nelson, sounds about as WASP as they come.

Donald Trump (58%)

Well, well, well … How could it be that immigrant-basher Donald Trump is the least native of all the Republican candidates? 

Well, did you know that his mom is from Scotland? Yup, Mary Anne MacLeod was born on the island of Lewis and Harris, in the Outer Hebrides. I guess that’s where Donald got the red hair and enormous eyebrows from.

She met Donald’s father while on a visit to the Big Apple. Though Donald’s father, Fred, was born in New York, both of his parents were from Germany. Put it all together, and Donald doesn’t have a single grandparent who was native born.

Just to continue the theme, Trump would show a real predilection for marrying outside the US as well. Of his three wives, only one – Marla Maples – was American. His first wife, Ivana Zelníčková, was Czech, and his third and current wife, Melania Knauss, is Slovenian.

Special Note

So, you may be wondering about all the Rand Pauls, Mike Huckabees, and Chris Christies out there. Well, they seem to be pretty boring ancestry-wise. All I could really find was that Rick Santorum dad’s, Aldo, was born in Italy.

On the Democratic side, Hilary’s about as WASPy as it gets.  Bernie Sanders is the only Dem who rivals the Republicans when it comes to a foreign background. With a father and all four grandparents born in either Poland or Russia, he clocks in at 50% – tying Cruz and Rubio, and besting Trump.