Republicans & Democrats Want Pitbull's Support, But The "Pitbull Party" Is The Only One He Belongs To, Obviously
It used to weird me out when I found out that celebrities had political allegiances, particularly when it was along clear-cut party lines, but I guess somewhere between then and now I realized that they're actual human beings, too, and some of them care about things outside of the trappings of fame. But upon discovering that Republicans and Democrats were vying for Pitbull's political support — or endorsement, which is what it truly is — let's just say being thrown for a loop was an understatement.
Pitbull — born Armando Pérez — is no stranger to politics, having publicly supported President Obama in 2012 during the re-election campaign as he appeared alongside the president at a voter rally in Florida, a crucial battleground state. But it seems that the GOP is putting considerable effort into wooing the Miami rapper over to its side instead. Adrian Carrasquillo at BuzzFeed News wrote that Anitere Flores, a Cuban-America Republican Florida state senator, said Pitbull belonged in the GOP. Flores, tapped as a rising star in the GOP, said:
Who wouldn’t want Pitbull? He can’t just get us votes in the 305, he can get us votes worldwide.
Referencing the rapper's other names, Mr. 305 and Mr. Worldwide (305 is the area code for southern Florida, including Miami), Flores' remarks echo those of other Republican lawmakers eager for Pitbull's backing.
Republican strategist Ana Navarro told Carrasquillo that it would be irresponsible for her not to try to have Pitbull on their side for the 2016 election:
I saw Armando at a party in Miami the other night and immediately started selling him on Jeb. It’d be professional negligence not to. Armando is Mr. 305 and well, that’s Jeb’s area code, too.
But the apple-polishing went beyond mere words. Alongside Mayor Tomás Regalado, Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott, a rather high-profile figure in the party, just recently showered Pitbull with gifts on his birthday and presented him with the key to the city of Miami. And Flores, who is also president of the non-accredited Doral College, awarded Pitbull with an dubious honorary degree last year.
According to Navarro, securing Pitbull's support goes beyond mere celebrity endorsement. She told Carrasquillo:
Pitbull is well-liked, hugely respected. I see him as policy-oriented. He’s an entrepreneur who cares enormously about education and is an active advocate of school choice.
Upon further contemplation, it's actually not that surprising. The rapper, known for overtly radio-friendly hits like that "Calle Ocho" song, would provide the Republicans with one particularly crucial asset — an "in" into the Latino community, who the Republicans have been aggressively courting in an attempt to attract more voters ahead of the 2016 election.
Democrats, though, jeer at the idea that Pitbull would ever support the Republicans. Max Steele, press secretary for the Florida Democratic Party, told the website that his party's efforts for the Latino community counted for much more than a single celebrity's support. Steele said:
The [Republican National Committee] RNC is welcome to put all their eggs in a celebrity-recruitment basket, we wish them luck. But the Democratic message on everything from comprehensive immigration reform to expanding Medicaid, those issues resonate across the board more than a single celebrity endorsement.
According to Carrasquillo, a Democratic aide for a Latino Congress member said that it was more or less implausible for an icon in the community to align himself with "anti-immigrants":
Pitbull, a Latino icon, siding with anti-immigrants? Sorry, I simply can’t picture that with a Kodak.
And anyway, it looks like Pitbull and the GOP have too-wide divergences on issues to really come together. His 2012 album Global Warming was named as such to call attention to climate change, something an overwhelming majority of Republican lawmakers refuse to recognize. He has also said previously that President Pitbull in the White House would address that phenomenon.
But, of course, Pitbull is beyond partisan politics. When contacted by Carrasquillo for comment, the rap star responded in a statement:
I’m not here to be part of any political party. I’m here to bring political parties to my party because they can’t, they won’t they never will stop the Pitbull party, Dale!
Image: Getty Images (3)