In light of Hispanic Heritage Month, 2020 Presidential candidate Joe Biden plays “Despacito” at Florida campaign stop, as he tries to win over Latinx voters. The struggle Biden has in order to win over the Latinx community is horrendous as President Trump is doing better with Hispanics than he did four years ago. Biden is only winning the Hispanic vote by an average of 28 points according to FiveThirtyEight, compared to Hillary Clinton, who was ahead by 37 points back in 2016. This may be because Biden is doing a lot better with White voters who make up about seven times the percentage of the electoral college than Hispanics do across the nation in swing states, which is three times the electoral college. This is due to Latinx voters making up at least 15 percent of swing states such as: Florida, Nevada, and Arizona.
The sunshine state of Florida is where Biden is having the most trouble gaining the Latinx vote. Florida currently has 29 electoral votes, which is much more than any other state that has switched from a Democratic party in 2012 with Barack Obama to a Repubican party with President Donald Trump. If Biden were to win Florida, Trump’s possibilities of winning over the electorate college would be highly unlikely.
However, based on non-partisan Florida polls taken since the summer, a Florida win would only give Biden a six-point lead, compared to the 21-point advantage Clinton had with them in the final pre-election polls in 2016. This could be due to the sample size in which the polls are taken — as there are fewer polls in Florida — or due to the populace of Cuban-Americans.
One-third of Cuban-Americans make up the Latinx vote in Florida and are leaning further right than most Latinx nationally. From my perspective, it’s because Cuban-Americans view Democrats as communists or socialists due to traumatic pasts with Cuba’s dictatorship under Fidel Castro. After the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Fidel Castro launched communism in Cuba, which resulted in a wave of Cuban immigrants who were against this regime immigrating to the USA. Many of these Cuban immigrants lost their livelihoods — jobs, homes, businesses, and rights — because of the revolution.
This has caused a lot of resentment within Cubans living in the U.S. because they don’t want to relive their past. Most of this resentment is towards Democrats. According to Nestor Diaz de Villegas, a “poet, essayist and critic that has been living in the United States and writing about Cuba for 37 years, ‘We always go Republican, there is nothing positive a Democrat can bring to those who have experienced socialism.’” They are scared that what happened to their country will happen to the USA. In my opinion, Trump and Castro have more in common such as their need to always be the center of attention, and getting rid of people who threaten their control.
Why do Cuban Americans support Donald Trump? Well, after investigating the Latinos For Trump website, there are a number of reasons:
- “President Trump Is Protecting Freedom and Opportunity for All Latinos.”
- “[He] Protects Our Religious Liberty And Values.”
- “[He] Keeps Our Families Safe and Gives Parents More Choices For Their Children’s Futures.”
- “[He] built the greatest economy in a generation for all Americans and he will do it again. Another four years means Transitioning to Greatness.”
- “[He] is committed to giving Americans the tools to succeed by fighting for American workers, American jobs, and ensuring trade deals are both fair and equitable.”
Additionally, most Cubans root for Donald Trump due to him ending any connections to the Castro Dictatorship that Barack Obama had started during his presidency. Trump was outraged by this, so, during his 2016 rally in Miami, he declared he would end the deal to stand with the Cubans of America unless they got “the treatment that Cubans, both here and in Cuba, deserve.” This included ending the embargo of any Cuban items such as Cuban rum and cigars so the U.S. could improve relations with the country. This is why many Cubans have sided with Trump, because they want no relation to the Castro regime whatsoever.
Trump has also gained popularity with many Cubans due to propaganda comparing Democrats to communists. The TV ads paid for by Trump himself compare Joe Biden with Latin American leaders such as former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. These ads were played all over Latin American television and radio stations. The message within the ads resonates with Cuban-American voters and influences them to vote for Trump. President Donald Trump is preying on the traumas, sensitivities, and vulnerabilities of Cuban-Americans who had to leave everything behind in their country in order to flee to this one. It’s deceptive and disgusting, not to mention extremely offensive to depict Biden in such a cruel way.
In my judgment, Biden isn’t doing enough to gain the support of the Latinx community, especially Cuban-Americans. Yes, Biden did visit Kissimmee, Fla. for a Hispanic Heritage Month event, but this is one of the only events geared towards the Latinx community in Florida that he has done. He should visit South Florida to gain the votes of those skeptical of him, specifically Miami-Dade, the largest county in the state, as well as with Latinx voters across Florida, which is nearly 10 percent, according to recent polling.
I would also like Biden to strike against Donald Trump’s attacks on Democrats, calling them “Radical Socialists,” as that is ruining Biden’s image in the Latinx communities who have fled from communist regimes. A vote for Biden is a vote against the narcissist of a President we have today, but in order for Joe Biden to win the 2020 election he has to start catering towards the Latinx in South Florida to secure his shot at winning the swing state.
Feature image: Sage Amdahl / Quaker Campus