Country before party

Why the head of the Republican Party in Mexico says he won’t vote for Donald Trump

AP

MEXICO CITY— The head of the Republicans abroad in Mexico says he’s not voting for Donald Trump and hopes others in his party will similarly put country first.

“Five days before the election I decided not to vote for Trump,” Larry Rubin, president of the Republican Party chapter in Mexico, told me during a phone interview Monday morning. “It’s extremely important, even if you’re affiliated to a political party and generations of your family have traditionally voted one way, to vote with your conscience during this election. Country always comes first.”

Rubin, the son of a Mexican mother and American father, says he’s putting the interest of both his homes first. Rubin was born in Mexico and has worked for several U.S. companies based there. He helped re-open the Republican Party chapter in Mexico in 2004, and has been its president for 12 years. He says he’s voted Republican every election since he turned 18. He’s now 42.

Rubin visiting the Mexican Senate.

Rubin visiting the Mexican Congress.

But that streak stops tomorrow. Rubin says he can’t support the Republican presidential candidate this election and decided to go public with his decision since Trump “has a high chance of winning.”

Rubin says it’s been tough being a Republican in Mexico during Trump’s political rise. But he’s been trying to separate his party from the candidate.

“Trump’s rhetoric has sparked anger in Mexico and many assume he’s the Republican Party, but he’s only a candidate,” Rubin said. “The party is made up of millions of American citizens who don’t think the same way he does.”

Rubin thinks Republican governments have traditionally been better for Mexico, from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. And he stressed that his party has done a lot to elect Hispanics to office.

“The Democrats have tried to portray Republicans as the anti-Hispanic party, but let’s not forget Barack Obama is the president who’s deported more immigrants,” Rubin said.

He won’t say if he’ll end up voting for Hillary Clinton instead, but insists Mexicans and U.S. Latinos are leery of her, too.

“Hillary wasn’t good for Mexico as Secretary of State,” he says. “My Mexican friends and relatives acknowledge she’s not the best candidate to become president. There’s plenty of transparency issues, the way she behaves, etcetera. This is a very complex election and as we say in Mexico no es una perita en dulce [she’s no saint].”

A unos metros del escenario en el que habla Paul Ryan

A photo posted by Larry Rubin (@larry_d_rubin) on

Rubin says Trump’s Mexico-bashing is just one of many factors that discouraged him from supporting the Republican ticket this year.

“We need a president that’s conciliatory and that can work with the world. The U.S. is not an island and we have to work with international organizations. We need to work with Jews, Muslims, Catholics, all religions,” he said. “I was hoping Trump would tone down some of his stances as the election drew near, but that never happened.”

Rubin says he doesn’t know how many registered Republicans live in Mexico, or how many absentee ballots have been sent. But says many of the hardcore Republicans he knows in Mexico say they’re still undecided or not planning to vote.

He says a Trump presidency wouldn’t be the end of the world because there are other powers that keep the presidency in check. And he thinks a Clinton presidency wouldn’t be a walk in the park either.

“Mexico will have no choice but to work with whoever wins,” he said.

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