Florida is the most crucial battleground and bellwether state in the presidential race – and Trump won it comfortably thanks to a surge in Latino support. Shocking? It shouldn’t be. The Sunshine State has a large population of Cuban Americans, who know exactly what suffering statism brings.
The Bellwether State
Since 1972, Florida has voted with the winner of the presidential election. The only exception is 1992, when the populist third-party candidate Ross Perot upset the election and skimmed sufficiently many votes away from then-President George H. W. Bush to hand the victory to Bill Clinton.
Florida is almost like a miniature version of the United States in terms of demographics. The cities are heavily Democratic with significant Latino and black populations, but the rural areas and the “panhandle” in the northeast tilt heavily Republican.
Also, many northern staters retire in Florida and thereby infuse politics and values from all over the country. Therefore, it often votes in lockstep with rust belt states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Voters who were critical of President Donald Trump came out in droves to vote him out of office, and the polls leading up to the election showed former Vice President Joe Biden significantly ahead. However, an equal number of unlikely voters came out for the incumbent. The result was a massive turnout, with 122% of the votes cast in the 2016 election.
Under normal circumstances, the election would have been a dead heat. But due to a surge in Latino support for Trump, especially among the Cuban community, the president won the state by well over 300,000 votes. Almost all those extra votes came in the county of Miami-Dade. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won there by a comfortable 29.6% margin. This time, the advantage shrunk to only 7.3%.
Refugees from Cuba have intimate knowledge about the strangling and destructive effects of communism. Fidel Castro turned the rich and flourishing Caribbean island into a third world hellhole, where well-educated doctors often had to work in the fields for survival.
They have either seen first-hand or heard from their parents and grandparents the horror stories of what communism brings. When they saw Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioting in the streets with communist flags and revolutionary slogans, they knew all too well what was at stake.
The Cuban refugees crossed shark-infested waters on rafts to escape that system of government, and this time they would crawl over broken glass to vote for Trump for the same reason.
A General Trend
The increase in support was not limited to the Cubans. Support for the president among various Latino communities across the United States increased significantly. The numbers are not all in, but on exit polls, which are generally accurate to within a few percentage points, around 40% of Hispanic voters opted for Trump.
By comparison, only 28% of them voted for him in 2016.
Many people from South America came to the U.S. to escape socialism. They have built careers, fortunes, and prosperous lives that would have been impossible in their corrupt native lands. Although the Democrats and the mainstream media painted Trump as a xenophobe, these immigrants learned to appreciate his focus on law and order, border security, low taxes, and reduced regulations during his presidency.
Where Republicans in the past failed to engage Hispanic voters, Trump managed to break through the barrier of identity politics. The question that remains to be answered is: Will it last?
Read more from Onar Åm.
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