How Hispanic voters rocked Miami to the right

Nov 21, 2020 Travel News

How Hispanic voters rocked Miami to the right

“We used to be more compassionate,” said Carmen Peláez, a Cuban-American playwright and filmmaker who campaigned for Mr. Biden.

Some calculations took place over the summer, when it became apparent that relatively few Latinos, especially Cuban Americans, were showing up at local protests against police brutality that mirrored others across the country, causing consternation among more liberal Hispanics.

Then in July, Eliécer Ávila, a Cuban dissident, posted on Instagram a photo showing himself and other Trump supporters posing outside the Miami Shrine at Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, the patron saint of Cuba, middle finger in the air. (The target of their disrespect was not clear, but the overall message was not.)

In the days leading up to the election, members of the Proud Boys, a group linked to white supremacy, campaigned openly at polling stations in the Miami area, and some of them, including the chairman of the ‘organization, Enrique Tarrio, were Cuban Americans. Mr Tarrio was also the Florida state director for a popular campaign group, Latinos for Trump, which was not affiliated with the campaign.

Nowhere in the country do Hispanics control the levers of power like they do in Miami, and voters do not behave the way they might in other places where their ethnic group is more marginalized, said Dr Bustamante. Traditional “Latin” issues such as immigration, the fight against racism and identity politics often take a back seat to concerns about economics, religion and foreign policy.

About 72% of registered Republicans in Miami-Dade are Hispanic, many of whom are Cuban-Americans. But the Hispanic vote in the region is more broadly a combination of aging Cuban exiles, new Cuban immigrants, and various waves of immigrants from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Central and South America. Non-Cuban Hispanics make up about half of the Latin vote in Miami-Dade, and they tend to lean democratically.

Mr. Trump’s campaign was successful in South Florida to understand many of these complexities, as well as for a variety of other reasons: he visited often. Republicans have effectively called Democrats “socialists.” A massive disinformation campaign has targeted Spanish speaking voters. Mr. Biden failed to reach Hispanic voters until it was too late.