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Cuban American Voters Bought Into GOP Socialism Propaganda, Al Sharpton Says After Poor Biden Showing

Newsweek logo Newsweek 11/4/2020 David Brennan
a group of people posing for the camera: Supporters of President Donald Trump rally in front of Cuban restaurant Versailles in Miami, Florida on November 3, 2020. © EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Supporters of President Donald Trump rally in front of Cuban restaurant Versailles in Miami, Florida on November 3, 2020.

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton has blamed Republican propaganda for the lower than expected Democratic Latino vote in Florida's Miami Dade county, which was a major part of why former Vice President Joe Biden lost the pivotal state to President Donald Trump.

The Quote

"We don't have the same dynamics that we have in Florida where you have like in Miami-Dade. I think it was George pointed out a large Cuban influence in terms of Cuban voters who look more to the propaganda that we're dealing with socialism and all. That offset a large black turnout."

Why it Matters

Democrats are looking for answers after Biden's underperformance with Latino voters, especially men, who turned out in larger-than-expected numbers for Trump. Observers and voices within the Democratic Party—including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—had warned that Biden's was lacking appeal among Latinos.

In southern Florida in particular, the lower Democratic Latino turnout meant the president carried the state by a decent margin. Alarm bells were ringing early in the evening for the Democrats in Miami Dade, traditionally a big vote winner for the party, where Biden's lead over Trump was significantly smaller than Hillary Clinton managed in 2016.

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The area is home to a large number of Latino voters, including Cuban, Venezuela, Colombian, Puerto Rican and Mexican communities, whether foreign born or descended from earlier immigrants.

Cuban and Venezuelan exile communities are influential in the state's politics. Both fled left-wing governments in their home countries, making them a fertile ground for GOP warnings about the Democrats' alleged socialist tendencies.

Sharpton made his remarks while discussing the outstanding vote in Georgia and North Carolina. Trump is leading slightly in both states, which could prove pivotal in the race for 270 electoral college votes.

Sharpton suggested that the outstanding votes would boost the Democrats once included, as the areas yet to report their full tallies include large Black communities that he said were less susceptible to GOP "propaganda" about socialism.

Counterpoint

It is not yet clear why Biden underperformed with Latino voters, nor how much concerns about socialism drove Trump's unexpected performance with this demographic.

But Biden struggled to attract the Latino vote during the Democratic presidential primaries—an early warning sign that Democrats might struggle with the demographic in the national race if Biden was the candidate.

The Trump campaign actively courted these groups that observers warned were being largely ignored by the Democrats. The tactic has paid off, and might yet be an important twist in the tale of the 2020 election.

Biden's lack of popularity among Latino voters was an existing problem, even outside of largely inaccurate socialism smears from the GOP on his platform.

Cuban Americans in particular were already trending towards Trump—Equis said ahead of the election that this group was breaking for the president by some 20 points. According to Mark Lopez—the director of Hispanic research at Pew Research Center—though, this is partially explained by Trump's anti-socialist rhetoric.

"Trump is clearly doing even better among Cuban Americans than some previous Republicans," Lopez told The Atlantic. "Biden's weakness in Florida has something to do with the president's anti-socialist rhetoric."

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