An Outsider's Perspective on an Insider Candidate

The Takeaway

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

Novelist and investigative journalist Suki Kim is best known for her infiltration of North Korea. In 2011, Kim posed as a missionary and went undercover as an English teacher at one of the nation's elite private universities, an experience she wrote about in her book, "Without You, There Is No Us."

Kim had never covered a presidential campaign, until last December. The New Republic asked her to join an experiment: The magazine decided to assign a group of unlikely writers to profile the remaining presidential candidates, and Kim agreed to cover Senator Marco Rubio.

As Kim tells The Takeaway, Senator Rubio keeps in close touch with his best friends from high school, and Kim spent time with them at Rubio's old haunts in Miami. She also spoke with a number of Cuban-American voters in Little Havana's Domino Park.

While Rubio's friends are ready to cast their ballots for the young senator, Kim says the older generation is sticking with Donald Trump. She also highlights the differences between Cuban-Americans and other Hispanic-Americans on immigration.  

"When he talks about, 'I'm a son of immigrants,' he [says he] understands immigration," Kim says. "I'm not sure he really does as a Cuban-American."

"I'm a Korean immigrant, for example," Kim notes. "There's a very different standard for Cubans versus any [other] immigrant."