While President Donald Trump may lose his close reelection battle to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, he won Florida big and Republicans picked up two U.S. House seats in the Miami area, thanks in large part to GOP messaging on the dangers of Democrats’ leaning toward socialism. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), the Democrat who replaced Tea Party Republican Dave Brat, warned that Democrats must void socialism like the plague in response to the 2020 elections.
“We have to commit to not saying the words ‘defund the police’ ever again,” Spanberger said on a blockbuster call revealing the civil war within the Democratic Party. “We need to not ever use the words socialist or socialism ever again. It does matter, and we have lost good members because of that.”
Spanberger tells Dems their words matter in House races: "We have to commit to not saying the words 'defund the police' ever again."
"We need to not ever use the words socialist or socialism ever again," she says. "It does matter, and we have lost good members because of that."
— Ben Siegel (@benyc) November 5, 2020
While Biden won the Latino vote in Florida overall (60 percent to Trump’s 40 percent), Trump won the Cuban-American vote in Miami (52 percent), making strong inroads thanks, in large part, to strong warnings about the threat of Democrats’ socialism. Two Cuban-American Republicans, Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar, defeated Democratic incumbents in the Miami area, likely boosted by Trump.
In the past two years, Democrats have welcomed self-described Democratic socialists into their ranks, including most notably Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Biden formed “unity” strategy groups in order to bring these radicals into his “moderate” circle after he won the Democratic primary.
The Trump campaign released powerful Spanish-language ads tying Biden to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, former Colombian presidential candidate and revolutionary guerrilla Gustavo Petro, and Venezuelan socialist tyrants Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. Each of these socialists and communists used the term “progresista” to describe themselves, and the Trump campaign tied this to Biden’s promise to become the “most progressive president in American history.”
In a press release explaining the ad, the Trump campaign argues that “Biden’s ‘progressive’ agenda is anti-Hispanic, and includes redirecting funding away from police departments, raising taxes on middle-class families, getting rid of charter schools, and returning to a failed U.S.-Cuba policy that enables the Castro regime to prop-up the dictatorship in Venezuela and Marxist guerrillas that terrorize Latinos in Colombia and other countries.”
On Sunday night before the election, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) rallied Florida Latinos for Trump.
“This crowd here is as diverse as you can imagine,” Rubio said. “Let’s do a little roll call. ¿Donde esta el Cubano?” The crowd erupted in cheers. Rubio went through the list of Latino groups in Florida, immigrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia.
“And now, the loudest one of all, Americano! And that’s the point,” the senator added, noting that all the diverse immigrants who come to America to embrace American ideals and pursue the American dream become Americans.
“One of the things that unites so many people here is you have come to this country because you lost your native land,” Rubio said. “And you lost it to something called socialism.”
“People get on rafts to get away from socialism. People risk being eaten by sharks to get away from socialism. People leave behind their homes, their families, their loved ones, their entire life, to get away from socialism,” the senator noted, referencing the Cuban refugees who fled across the Gulf of Mexico to come to Florida. “We are not going to bring to this country the things that people flee.”
Trump rally crowd: "Sleepy Joe! Sleepy Joe!"
— The Hill (@thehill) November 2, 2020
This extremely powerful message seems to have resonated in Florida and cost Democrats key votes in the Sunshine State.
Spanberger is correct that Democrats need to reject the terms “socialism” and “socialist,” but the party will struggle to do that while holding onto its increasingly rabid base. Democrats who are willing to remake the American economy and energy sector in the name of a Green New Deal are just repackaging extremely radical interventions that involve a form of socialism, with or without the name.
While the Democrats may win the presidency and hold the House, they need to engage in some deep soul-searching. They risk losing key facets of their coalition if they continue to pursue the radical ideas and policies they have championed in recent years.
Unfortunately, since far-left radicals have infiltrated a broad swath of American institutions — from universities to the legacy media to civil rights nonprofits — it will make it increasingly difficult for Democrats to listen to those outside their intellectual bubble. Climate alarmism, one of the ideas that got them into this mess, faces significant scientific challenges that the legacy media and much of the managerial class refuses to acknowledge. Similarly, Democrats need to question their assumptions about the evil of social conservatives who disagree with their radical positions on LGBT and abortion issues.
Democrats will need to question their baseline assumptions and think outside the box if they are to escape the radicalism trap. Unfortunately for America, that seems rather unlikely.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.