Will Florida's Hispanics end Trump's presidency?

Will Florida's Hispanics end Trump's presidency?
© Getty

President Trump’s fate in the impeachment inquiry will be decided by Congress. But his electoral fate will be decided by voters on Election Day, and in particular by a subset of this group: Hispanic Americans.

For the first time in history, Hispanics will be the largest minority voting bloc. 

America’s Hispanic population consists of a huge Mexican American population, as well as smaller groups of Hispanics that include Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans.

ADVERTISEMENT

For clarity, there are nearly 60 million Hispanic Americans, of which 37 million are of Mexican origin, most of whom were born in the United States. Puerto Ricans in the 50 states number 5.6 million; Cubans roughly 2.3 million; Central Americans (Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans) roughly one to two million each; South Americans and others fewer than two million.

Large numbers of two of these Hispanic groups reside in one state where their votes can swing an election result one way or the other. The state is Florida. 

Trump carried Florida by only about 113,000 votes in 2016. Puerto Ricans and Cubans are the two largest Hispanics groups in the state. In 2016, roughly 54 percent of Florida Cubans voted for Trump, the highest share he received anywhere in the country and enough to tilt Florida to Trump.

In contrast, most Puerto Ricans in Florida voted for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic strategist laments 'low bar' for Biden debate performance Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel Trump to hold campaign rally in Pennsylvania next month MORE. The 2020 Democratic nominee will benefit from having tens of thousands of new Puerto Rican voters in Florida, refugees from 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

The Cuban population that helped give Trump his 1.2 percent win in Florida in 2016 has not grown much since.

The Obama administration eliminated the “wet foot, dry foot” policy that allowed any Cuban national who managed to set even one foot onto Florida’s thousands of miles of coastline to be made legal. 

ADVERTISEMENT

This policy change affected the entire immigrant rush on the border with Mexico. The number of OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) captured at the border has skyrocketed since 2018. It’s not only Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, Chinese, sub-continent Indians and Africans trying to cross into the U.S. from Mexico. It’s Cubans too.

Cuban nationals are being stopped from entering the U.S. as far away as San Diego. They can easily reach the border entry at San Diego because Cuba is only a hundred or so miles from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where Cubans can fly, then transfer to a direct flight to Tijuana’s airport just 50 yards from San Diego.

Many Puerto Ricans were insulted by President Trump after the hurricane that devastated their island. They also believe Trump has a lifelong dislike of Puerto Ricans that the U.S. government exposed in its discrimination lawsuit against Trump in 1975.

They will overwhelmingly vote against Trump. 

Additionally, Puerto Ricans are notorious for being the most loyal Democratic voters. Combine that with the animus of the newly-mainland-settled Puerto Ricans and the fact that many ex-convicted felons will be able to vote in Florida next year, one can make only one prediction.

Florida will vote for a Democrat over President Trump a year from now. Combine that potential loss and one more in Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania and President Trump will likely be ex-President Trump at noon on January 20th, 2021. 

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade” and “White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (Wasps) & Mexicans.” He is a former writer for the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.