Pundits are expressing shock that so many Latinos voted for Donald Trump.
However pollsters who specialize within the Latino vote knew for months earlier than the election that Latino help for Biden was mushy, with many Latinos – particularly in Florida – undecided. In Florida, 57% of Latinos in the end supported Biden, in comparison with roughly 70% nationwide.
These numbers are dependable as a result of they arrive from exit polls designed to seize Latino political preferences. Nationwide exit polls have been largely unsuitable about Latino voting patterns since they first started together with Latinos within the Eighties.
The 60.6 million People lumped collectively below the umbrella time period “Latino” are a racially, ethnically and geographically numerous group, as my analysis on Latino id reveals. They usually have equally numerous political views.
Florida: Not simply Cubans
Latino-focused monitoring polls from Equis Analysis performed in Could confirmed that Latino help for Trump ranged extensively, from 15% in Wisconsin to 31% in Florida.
Latino voting patterns in Florida are closely influenced by Cuban People. About three-fifths of Florida’s 1.4 million eligible Cuban People voters establish as Republican.
Cubans arrived within the U.S. fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist regime, giving them a powerful antipathy towards something labeled socialism. Ronald Reagan was the primary presidential candidate to journey to Florida and enchantment on to this group, in 1980, profitable them over with a powerful anti-communist message.
This 12 months, Trump capitalized on Cuban People’ gut-level concern of communism in his Latino promoting in Florida, claiming Joe Biden would carry socialism to the U.S.
“This concept that each Democrat is now socialist…we all know it to be false,” Randy Pestana, a researcher at Florida Worldwide College, instructed CBS Miami. “However in these communities that’s truly lived via socialism, like in Cuba and Venezuela and Nicaragua, it has a private impact on the way you and your loved ones will vote.”
Cubans make up solely about 29% of Florida’s eligible Latino voters. Florida has lengthy been residence to a big Puerto Rican inhabitants, whose numbers solely grew after Hurricane Maria in 2017; Puerto Ricans now comprise 27% of Florida’s Latino vote. Mexicans are 10%. Venezuelans, too, have flocked to Florida lately.
Right this moment Florida Latinos are break up by way of partisanship. About 26% are registered Republicans and 38% are Democrats. One other 36% haven’t any social gathering choice.
In different phrases, “the Latino vote” in Florida has complicated and shifting social gathering attachments. That mentioned, the Miami-area Latino political tradition remains to be strongly influenced by the media setting that Cubans constructed there over the previous six many years.
This 12 months a large-scale disinformation marketing campaign focused Florida’s Latino voters. On the radio, WhatsApp and Fb, baseless conspiracy theories concerning the “deep state” and Biden’s supposed plan to place America below the management of “Jews and Blacks” have been shared extensively – and appeared to have some impact on voters.
Arizona’s grassroots Dems
In distinction, Joe Biden’s slim win in Arizona is thanks largely to Latinos. About 70% of them voted Democratic, pushing Biden over Trump by only a few thousand votes and gaining the Democrats a Senate seat with the election of former astronaut Mark Kelly.
Arizona, like Florida, has lengthy been a conservative stronghold, residence to massive numbers of “snowbirds” – older individuals drawn to the nice and cozy local weather and golf programs. Arizona Latinos are altering that. Most are of Mexican descent.
Mexican People are the USA’ largest Latino group. Arizona was truly a part of Mexico till 1848. So some Latino households there have been Mexican earlier than they have been Mexican American. Others migrated from Mexico extra just lately.
These Latinos reside a distinct political actuality than the Cubans of Florida. In 2010 Arizona handed SB 1070, requiring native legislation enforcement to implement federal immigration coverage by checking the immigration standing of anybody they’d a “affordable suspicion” of being undocumented. Latinos, predictably, turned the targets of racialized, aggressive policing.
The discriminatory results of SB 1070 led to an upsurge in Latino youth organizing. This decade-long mobilization finally led to the ouster of Maricopa County’s notoriously anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had a well-documented friendship with Trump. And it put Arizona in play for Democrats this 12 months.
Biden’s group didn’t deal with Latino outreach in Arizona till the final weeks of the marketing campaign. However younger, U.S.-born Latinos have been politically engaged there anyway, due to their sustained political organizing since SB 1070. Latino-led organizations like LUCHA turned Arizona Latinos out for Biden in droves.
‘Mariachi politics’
Florida and Arizona make clear some main variations amongst Latinos in the USA, and the way that results their politics.
The race, gender, class and age of U.S. Latinos additionally influences their political leanings and ranges of incorporation into U.S. politics. So do the locations they reside, the alternatives accessible to them there, how they’re handled below U.S. immigration coverage – certainly, whether or not they’re immigrants in any respect.
If political events need Latinos’ help, it might require culturally competent outreach that speaks to their actual lives and on a regular basis experiences. As an alternative, campaigns typically accept Spanish-language tv advertisements – despite the fact that nearly all of Latino eligible voters communicate English as their essential language.
These advertisements are more likely to be symbolic than substantive, analysis by political scientist Marisa Abrajano reveals. Campaigns use cultural symbols like conventional Mexican music or tacos to attach with Latino voters fairly than presenting concrete coverage proposals about points they care about, whether or not that’s well being care, immigration coverage or the economic system.
I name this “mariachi politics.” In Florida, it could be known as “cafecito politics” – a reference to Cubans’ tendency to argue politics over espresso. Each Republicans and Democrats do that each electoral cycle, 2020 included, homogenizing and flattening what are complicated populations.
Pollsters do the identical factor, which is why they preserve getting Latinos unsuitable.
The Dialog is an unbiased and nonprofit supply of reports, evaluation and commentary from educational specialists.

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