Potential presidential candidates have made gaffes before, but it might be hard to explain away this one. Jeb Bush's apparent confusion about his own ethnicity may get him in a bit of hot water with the public, especially the Hispanic electorate. According to The New York Times, in 2009, Bush registered to vote in Florida and checked the box indicating Bush was a Hispanic voter. Bush has since tweeted implying that the checked box was a mistake. To his credit, it's true that the "Hispanic" box is next to the "White, not Hispanic" box, but you would expect that someone who might eventually intend to run for president of the United States would take care to fill out his voter registration form correctly.
Until now, Bush has had a reasonably sized following in the Hispanic community. His wife, Columba Bush, is native to Mexico. Bush himself has was born in Texas, which happens to be near Mexico. He also spent two years living in Venezuela and speaks fluent Spanish, making him an attractive candidate for Spanish-speaking Americans. He is visibly more comfortable and congruent with Hispanic voters than any other potential candidate in recent memory. But despite all these Spanish-speaking accolades and his choice of a Mexican wife, Bush is not, indeed, Hispanic. So why did he check the wrong box?
Bush said it was a slip of the wrist that caused him to report that he was Hispanic.
The Atlantic said the mistake was just that: a meaningless mistake made by a busy man with a lot on his mind.
Jeb Bush will happily talk about almost any area of policy, but the topic that most engages him is the topic on which he wrote his pre-presidential-run book: immigration. To him, it is the solution to almost all American problems, as it was the solution to so many of his own.
That’s why the dumb story of the errant checkmark caught so much attention. It means nothing! But it reminds us of things that may mean a lot.
That's an explanation, but it's not a very satisfying one. Further analysis may focus more on Bush's use of the hashtag #HonoraryLatino. What does he mean by this? Is Bush cracking a joke? Perhaps he earnestly hopes the Hispanic population will view him as an #HonoraryLatino in the 2016 election. They might, or they might not. But one thing is for certain: Bush's views on illegal immigration — namely, that it's an "act of love" — might fare well with immigrants, but he might alienate conservative Republican voters.