Some Context To Trump's “Desperate, Last-Minute” Florida Cuban-American Outreach
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Several Hispanic media reporters ridiculed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s meager attempt at Hispanic outreach -- which consisted of meeting with Cuban-Americans in the key swing state of Florida -- and explained that he once again failed to reach beyond his solidified base of support. The reports also pointed out the irony in the candidate casting himself as a hard-liner against the U.S.-Cuba embargo, which is the catalyst driving older Cuban-Americans’ support for him, when questions about Trump’s potential violation of the embargo remain.
An October 25 Univision article by David Adams, Jessica Weiss, and Lorena Arroyo reported that Trump spoke to “some 40 Bay of Pigs veterans” in Miami, FL, a voting bloc that has historically voted Republican, but he failed to spearhead further outreach within the Latino community. The report notes that although Miami’s Cuban-Americans were “once a bastion of Republican support,” they are now “evenly split 41-41 percent between Trump and Clinton.” Political analysts commented that “Trump’s Cuban American strategy is running counter to a changing demographic reality,” taking into account young Cuban-Americans who are “increasingly registering as Democrats and Independents,” a point that other reports confirm.
Trump’s event with the Bay of Pigs veterans also “did not offer any details of a plan to free Cuba” even though Trump was specifically “invited ‘to explain to [them] his plan for Cuba’s freedom,’” Univision reported. The article noted that this lack of specifics “has been customary in the [Trump] campaign.”
In an opinion piece for the Miami Herald, Florida journalist Fabiola Santiago also pointed out the irony of the interaction between the businessman and the Cuban-American veterans. Santiago recalled reports by Bloomberg and Newsweek documenting two occasions in which Trump “sent teams to Cuba to research business opportunities,” which was “most likely in violation of the U.S. embargo.” She opined that “Donald Trump’s campaign engaged the Bay of Pigs veterans because he’s falling behind in Florida, a must-win state where the Hispanic vote counts, and it’s massively favoring Hillary Clinton, Cuban-Americans included."
But research about the Latino vote demonstrates that among the Hispanic community, “Cuban-Americans are, in many ways, a group apart. As a whole they are wealthier, better educated and more Republican than other Hispanics.” Therefore, Trump’s meeting with Cuban-Americans doesn’t help him breach the enormous gap between him and Clinton in polls of the Latino community, where he only has 17 percent support.
The message of these Hispanic media reporters to the Trump campaign is clear: this “desperate, last-minute” attempt to reach out to Cuban-Americans will not make up for its ongoing rejection of the Hispanic community. Nevertheless, the approach isn’t surprising, as it’s in step with Trump’s overall campaign strategy of remaining within his comfort zone and ignoring groups that break with his radical proposals, particularly when it comes to Latino outreach.