The Importance of the Latino and Cuban Voting Communities

Despite Trump’s tough immigration policies, “the Democrats lost many votes from the Latino voting community in South Texas and the Cuban voting community of Miami, Florida” according to Scott Cooper Miami.

You wouldn’t have taken this as a shock if you’ve had your pulse on the political leanings of Latino electorate as you’ll know how diverse it is.

But, the Democratic losses are not all down to Latino voters.

According to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez understanding why the Democrats didn’t reach vast swathes of white Americans is a more pressing matter. She feels that Latinos are scapegoated, the real issue is that not enough was done to appeal to white voters in Texas and Florida.

Ocasio-Cortez and others feel that Democrats should have focused on hampering President Trump’s gains in the Latino sections by tailoring the message to the diverse Latino community.

However, the Democrats campaign was multi-targeted and reflected the diversity of the Latino voting community in contrast to Trump’s, which wasn’t.

Miami Elections 2020

Biden’s Florida Win Blocked by Cubans in Miami

You’d think Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and Florida’s big Latino community would lose him the seat in Florida.

But, it appears that Trump’s brash machismo seems to have won over male voters of all creeds, just not with Latino ladies. The election results revealed that Trump gained considerable support from Florida Puerto Ricans, and in rural Texas Mexican-Americans.

Interestingly, Biden has captured around 75% of Latino voters, a similar share to Hillary Clinton’s in 2016. While Trump’s share of Latino votes stayed pretty much the same they did increase from 28% in 2016 to 32% in 2020. This slight growth is attributed to the support from Latino voters along the border between Texas and Mexico and Florida.

Many Miami Cuban Americans shifted towards the Republicans this election than before, enabling Trump to secure Florida.

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez feels that if the Democrats watched the Florida Latino community more closely, Biden would have got more support.

It’s naïve and simplistic to assume that just because someone is of Latino descent, they should vote Democrat. Latinos originate from diverse backgrounds. Their experiences are widely diverse. If they’ve lived an urban life their political leanings are likely to be far different to someone from a rural background.

Latinos come from different classes, states, and generations. There’s no way a person can generalize or make assumptions about a Latin person’s political beliefs. Opinions can vary greatly even within groups and states.

For instance, according to an August poll from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation, Texan Latino men favored Trump’s macho style of leadership, however not Latino women. Hispanics who talk English in their daily lives would most likely vote for Trump, but Spanish speakers leaned towards Biden.

Put broadly, Trump appealed to a narrow sector of the Latino voting community. The Democrats could have diversified their election messages to appeal to different socio-economic sectors of Latinos.

Julian Castro, who previously ran for president, believes this is why campaign strategies must be tweaked to better target certain demographics in certain states.

Castro adds that the election results indicate why a year-round serious effort to reach Latino voters is vital, not just at election time otherwise they run the risk of losing potential Democrat voters for a generation.

However, Biden’s campaign did prioritize its reach to Latinos in key battleground states once funds became available. This included polling in states such as Pennsylvania, the state upon which the next presidency currently hangs.

The campaign was certainly successful in boosting the Democrats’ Latino numbers, despite Trump’s achievements in Florida and Texas, having so far won majorities in states such as Wisconsin to Arizona.

The effort to target Latinos in Arizona was fruitful – about 63% voted for Biden, the same as Clinton in 2016. A UCLA analysis of Latin voters in Arizona found that in Yuma, Pima, and Maricopa, the counties most densely populated with Latinos, 74% supported Biden.

Other Latino-majorities in Philadelphia and Milwaukee also turned out to back Biden by more than three-quarters.

However, in Texas (which Trump won) votes from the Latino community were a mishmash for Biden. The results in Texas are peculiar. One Democrat called Biden’s Rio Grande Valley losses a “conundrum.” Although Biden performed well with Latinos in Houston and San Antonio, even he even surpassed Clinton, the results in South Texas are somewhat of an anomaly.

Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who was re-elected on Tuesday feels the party needs to step up and address why so many Latinos are voting Republican. She and other Texan Democrats realize it takes effort but it’s worth it if it means winning support from Latino communities

Gonzalez pointed out that Trump ignited a new enthusiasm in young Latinos as an additional 50 thousand voters turned out that didn’t in 2016.

Despite Trumps rising popularity in the Latino community, Biden’s pollster Barreto doesn’t believe that the Latino vote is most vital. He believes that the Democrat didn’t perform well in targeting white exurbs and white rural areas, although the Democrats expanded in cities

Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Arizona were the main focus of the Biden campaign with Kamala Harris and Jill Biden visiting each state towards the end of campaigning. In contrast, Trump and Texas Republicans worked on Texas and the border with Mexico throughout the summer, organizing events and visits, they gained increasing support for Trump.

Strategists and Democrats knew in Florida it would be close. Latino Democrat leaders knew in 2018 this would be the case after Republicans referred to Democrats as ‘socialists’ and ‘radicals.’ Trump’s popularity still came a little unexpected.

Biden only just won Miami-Dade County by 7.3 percent, Clinton won in 2016 by 30 percentage points.

The co-founder Equis Research, Carlos Odio mentioned on Twitter that Biden only got 38% of the white vote in Florida even though he was polling an average of 42% in October. If he could have held on to that white support he would have won Florida as well.

The support for Trump signaled quite a few ballot losses for the Democrats. The first South American immigrant member of the US House was replaced by Mayor Carols Gimenez and Republican Maria Elvira Salazar replaced Democrat Donna Shalala unexpectedly.

Shalala believes the entire Democrat party must work harder on the Latino electorate aid in the Miami area.

Ocasio-Cortez agrees. She points out that the Democrats missed an opportunity when Puerto Ricans arrived in the US en masse after Hurricane Maria. She and other Democrats believe Trump’s popularity is down to his campaigning efforts which the Democrats need to catch up with more radio adverts and door-knocking.

Some Democrats saw what was coming however when the early Republic voters turn up in force. So they stepped up their game and ploughed more money into pushing the Biden campaign canvassing to tens of millions of voters in the last few weeks.

The Democrats now know they must adjust their messaging so that it fits the different experiences of Cubans, Mexicans, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans to prevent a generational shift in Rio Grande Valley and Miami-Dade where Trump garnered so much support.

Ocasia-Cortez points out that it’s not only necessary to aim the Democrat Party’s messaging towards Latino voters 365 days a year, but also the white electorate who voted for Trump. The Democrats missed around 20% to 30% of the electorate.

According to the exit polls, Trump won on votes from predominantly white votes and votes from white women although polls in the lead-up suggested that Trump was becoming less popular with white women.

Ocasio-Cortez points out that the Latino vote will never be big enough to match this trend.

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