Politics

Trump Cultivated The Latino Vote In Florida, And It Paid Off

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MIAMI – From the time President Donald Trump took office, he focused on the Latino vote in Florida, and according to figures coming out of the state, it paid off on Election Day, especially in Miami-Dade County, the most populous in the state.

Around 55 percent of Florida’s Cuban-American vote went to Trump, according to NBC News exit polls, while 30 percent of Puerto Ricans and 48 percent of “other Latinos” backed Trump.

While Joe Biden leads in Miami-Dade overall, he was underperforming Hillary Clinton’s 2016 totals with 95 percent of the expected vote in.

Trump’s popularity also seems to have affected down-ballot races, with two House Democrats from South Florida losing in early ballot returns to Republican challengers:Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, the first South American-born member of Congress, was trailing Carlos Gimenez, the Miami-Dade County mayor, and Rep. Donna Shalala was trailing TV host and commentator Maria Elvira Salazar.

The ground Trump gained in Miami-Dade came with constant courtship. Venezuelans in Miami were surprised and elated when the president, less than a month in office, tweeted a picture of himself at the White House with Lilian Tintori, the wife of a leading opposition leader in Venezuela who was jailed at the time.

Since then, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials have made trips to Florida to make policy speeches.

The president announced the reversal of former President Barack Obama’s policy of engagement with Cuba in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami to a crowd full of Cuban-Americans. And then-national security adviser John Bolton traveled twice to Miami to announce sanctions against what he dubbed ” the troika of tyranny”: Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, all socialist countries.

Cuban Americans make up the largest share of Latino voters in Miami-Dade, and also have a strong turnout rate, at 58 percent, compared to other Latino groups.

Obama won the Cuban vote in 2012, but after the 2018 midterm, it was clear the tide had turned when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a protégé of Trump, garnered 66 percent of t… (Read more)

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